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  • Writer's pictureEric Doades

The Rhythm of Medicine with Hope Young of Biomedical Music Solutions

Updated: Jun 26, 2023

In this episode of the podcast, Tristra talks with Hope Young, founder of Biomedical Music Solutions and an experienced music therapist.

Find out how powerfully music and rhythm can affect the bodies and minds of patients from preemies to seniors. How does biomedical music activate different areas of the brain to improve balance and coordination in people with movement disorders? What other fields of medicine is music poised to revolutionize? Get Hope’s insights as a startup founder on the challenges—both regulatory and technical—of developing a tech product that crosses boundaries between music and medicine. Hope offers a glimpse at the future of medical music as a serious tool for improving human health.

In a report from the 2023 NAMM Show, hear from Evan MacKenzie how ASI Audio by Sensaphonics is revolutionizing in-ear monitors so that musicians can enhance and control their personal monitor mix while protecting their hearing. Find out who else is finding novel use cases for this new tech.

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A full transcript of Hope Young's Interview below:

What is Biomedical Music?


So I always like to start things out, just having folks explain what they do. So how do you talk to people you've just met about what you do and what biomedical music does?


Well, it's so easy and it's actually exciting because everybody knows how music makes them cry and the way that we feel so drawn together and move by music.

And everybody knows that music makes them move. Everybody wants to dance. So that's easy in that it's so accessible and it's everywhere and every human is a musical being and we always have been.

So, when I talk about Biomedical Music, it's bringing up the fact that that wonderful response in the limbic system, that part that makes you go, "wee!", or sad or you know, that it's just awe, right? You're speechless and it communicates so much. The limbic system is, you know, and other activated areas of the brain that music does. It's this global phenomenon in the brain, and it activates all areas of the brain simultaneously, which is really exciting. Right?

But when it comes to treatment and from a clinical perspective, that's incredibly sloppy. We live now in a precision medicine world. When you go in and you get that devastating diagnosis or somebody in love gets a devastating diagnosis like cancer.

Now we just don't go in and try to kill everything in your body and hope you survive, right? And just blast you with radiation everywhere. We do it precisely onto the areas and even now target the cancer cells and try to lead the good cells. So when you get to audio design, and engineering for the medical sector, those are the requirements of your audio design, engineering, and that kind of clinical expertise and insight into the design, into my patent that I built.

So, talking about what we're doing with Biomedical Music is that precision capability to only activate the area of the brain that you wanna activate, maybe increase the volume of activation in that area so as it's the right dosage, right volume of activation without over activating. Like, overstimulating, like when you go, ah, like, oh my god. You don't ever want that to happen to an unconscious person in ICU that you're trying to keep their heart rate down. Or in our product Sound Steps that is designed for movement and people with movement disorders to literally cause them to fall or have an adverse reaction.

Sound Steps


Amazing. So let's talk for a second about Sound Steps, which is your main product at this moment. Sound Steps addresses movement disorders. Can you tell us a bit about the challenges that patients experience when they have one of these disorders and how can audio support them as they try to mitigate those challenges?


Yeah, it's an amazing and wondrous advance that we've made with movement disorders. So anybody with the movement disorder, they have either like the neurologic condition or a disease of the brain, such as Parkinson's disease or MS. Or they've had an injury to the brain, such as a stroke, like bleed on the brain, or a traumatic injury to the brain.

That's our target audience with movement disorders. So when those injuries, disease processes, or conditions occur, it really affects their mobility. That means anytime your brain tries to tell a muscle to move, it either doesn't move when you wanna just stand up and go to the bathroom or stand up and get outta a building that's on fire.

So that's called affecting mobility of loss mobility, which leaves people incredibly vulnerable and some of the things that are happening that are preventing that movement that the rest of us get just stand up and walk out the door. We have really good balance and gait to get us there. They oftentimes don't have the body reading where your balance is and they feel dizzy.

They often try to move, and when the brain senses the signal, it makes the muscle really contrast into a painful cramp or twisting motion. It can make the feet wanna just like stutter step, right? Like they're stuck to the floor, they just stutter. Many of you have probably seen somebody with the problem of lost mobility that you see them, you know, try to move and instead they fall.

And that causes a devastating health decline, and that's one of the leading causes of death for patients 65 and older. So that's one of the reasons I picked our first use case for the audio design. My patent was movement disorders. It’s one of the largest and most deadly conditions, especially for 65 and older, all across the world.

Causing falls, mobility is directly related to causing falls. So for my clinical work, I really loved being able to take what I could do as a music therapist to precisely target that area of the brain that controls walking and balance do with my music the exact activation that was needed to get that patient's brain to coordinate with the motor system, and make them walk faster, better, and reduce the fall. So that's what got me excited about making that our first use case.


That's really interesting. We don't need to go too deep into the specifics of the sounds themselves, but does rhythm help the brain kind of reorient itself and start talking, for lack of a better way to put it, more efficiently to muscles, to encourage better movement? Is it the rhythm or what, what is it? What is like the foundational sonic elements that help people's brains get organized so they can do what they're no longer able to do?


Well, I know that you and everybody out there listening knows that when you go out on a dance floor, what is the key audio thing that needs to be on? Music. And what is one of the very first things that you often hear DJ do or do you hear the band click, click before they even start to play?

Right? So, rhythm is our heartbeat. Think about if your heart goes out a rhythm, what do you immediately know? You know, intrinsically and automatically you're in trouble with your health. Any ancient Egyptians. All the physicians had to be musicians realized before electricity they had to listen to the body. What is one of the fundamental things we listen to?

Our heart, our breathing, it's all rhythmic. So absolutely, rhythm is fundamental to our natural musicality that is essential for life and good functioning. So, rhythm is one of the key components.

So when you're considering design from a clinical use case, you have to remember that the rhythm is controlled by, it's called the brainstem, the cerebellum, those central parts of the brain, and they control your breathing, respiration, balance, and gait. So those are the first rhythmic components that you would consider in designing audio, especially for gait, balance, and then of course, anything that's cardiac or respiratory related.


Amazing. You know, we don't need to go deep into the protocol, but when someone is using Sound Steps, they're using it in a clinical environment, right, this isn't an at-home treatment?


Well, correct. Right now, and everything realize since that's been, I have been, I own the Center for Music Therapy for 33 years.

I've been operating a music business in the medical sector now for over three decades. So, my performance environment has been intensive care, neo-native intensive care, adult psychiatric, and adolescent psychiatric intensive care, neurological intensive care, outpatient, all these clinical settings.

So, everything I know about audio, music, and applications is only in that environment. So, I did go to market there. I started and we are in 175 hospitals around the world with my technology currently. Now, our next product, our mentally viable product that is coming out this summer, literally goes all the PTs and doctors around the world and we have like over 3 million users.

Everybody's asking us, they wanna take that audio that they've been using on the bid gate training system. With music-assisted therapy, that's the product out on the market and being used in acute, subacute, and outpatient but clinics, they work on a treadmill that is an advanced neuro plasticity neuro stem lab for physical therapists.

They all want the audio now to go home with rehearsal and be able to practice. And we started doing that in the pandemic. It was perfect environment to pilot that with the regain and going virtual. So the answer is yes, but guess what? The good news is now we're taking that out where you can go out anywhere.

Anywhere that you have your phone with you and you can walk anywhere in the community and at home, out in your neighborhood, graduations, going on a plane to take you to Paris. You can go out and have that same gait capability in your iPhone or in your Android.

Clinical Work to Developing Tech


That is super cool. So you mentioned your decades of experience working in clinical environments as a music therapist. I'm wondering how developing a tech product is a bit different. And I'm curious how you took all of that experience, often working closely one-on-one with someone, and translated into something like, an attack product where you don't have the direct feedback from someone right there in the moment where, I mean, maybe I'm misunderstanding how exactly music therapy works, but it seems like you had to do a level of abstraction and look at the technology really closely so that it would still remain effective. Can you talk a little bit about that process?


Sure. So one of the things I started practicing in the eighties, and even in the eighties we had sensors you know, in every single patient's room in the hospital. Sensors that are tracking, breathing, respiratory, cardiac. If I was working in PT gyms, they had sensors, I mean, sensors connected to software.

Do you know what biofeedback is like? When you're in the hospital room, just think about what hospital rooms have sounded like and look like for decades. You have sensors attached to the patient with live feeds going directly into software that is sonifying the data and vision, and creating a visualization of the data.

Most people think of cardiac, they see the sine wave. The muscle contracting, you know? And relaxing on the heart, and you hear the audio, and if it goes off its target, if that patient leaves the norm, you hear beep, beep, beep, beep. So that's been the technology always around me and audio that I'm either competing with or I'm literally composing with a patient.

So like neonatal intensive care, when I was young as a therapist, I literally used that audio to help with respiration and oxygen saturation with those babies, cause you have to be so careful with any other audio in the environment because as soon as I activate the limbic system, those babies can accidentally go from a low oxygen saturation point where they've been struggling to get that oxygen that's being pumped down there into their beautiful little lungs, into the brain and saturating into the soil level.

And if I do that limbic if I do what you love about music and what everybody, when I'm first talking to 'em, they, oh yeah, yeah my favorite song and you rock out to, if you do that too quickly or too much on neonatal intensive care premature baby, the oxygen saturation can change so quickly that if you're not turning down the oxygen simultaneously as they react to the music that you do, you can cause blindness.

So realize when I talk about, when you're asking about tech, there is no being in a medical environment as a music therapist, not a musician, not a musician is there to help and hear and do all the powerful, spiritual, transformative things that music can do, but those musicians aren't liable, responsible for accidentally making a baby blind.

We have license. We have liability. We're regulated. So we have to know that. So those were, oh, if you asked me those scary, stressful, intense things that make a lot of music therapists run and not wanna stay in acute care. And they, a lot of them leave, a lot of music therapists leave. I didn't. I learned about the technology. I asked a lot of questions. I thought very hard on what would it take to create a methodology, and I've worked for decades on how to break the music industry and way of designing so it could integrate with where that natural audio feed, where that environment, it's the only environment the biomedical music consists in. That it has to have those sensors attached in a live feed in real-time monitoring with audio and visual and software that knows the metrics on wherever the target is, if it's respiratory, if it's gait and balance.

The music isn't continuous feedback in that system, monitoring, correcting, and able to move. So, if it's starting to go in an area that it knows that you can cause harm, it literally, you know, will back off and not do that. And that's the beauty of machine learning. And as we go into AI, actually, a little prematurely, but it helped me with the scientific research where, you know, because everything's getting so precise and advanced and using AI, so the newer stuff that's coming out, it's exciting cause it's already got machine learning involved. It's already starting to use AI as a super, what do you wanna call, like Marvel comics?

Like a superhero of data, of being able to sort through the data.

Translating Data into Therapeutic Practice


I mean, AI's superpower is finding patterns or reproducing patterns, and so I could see that would be amazing if what you're trying to do is in pattern a mind or a body that is struggling be patterned, right?

We're gonna talk about AI more in just a second, but we're gonna have a little break first. We'll be right back.

We're back. So how exactly do you translate some of this scientific research that, I mean, there's been a really huge body of music therapy, research you know, music in the brain. Most people know about some of the popular iterations of that, like, Oliver Sack's work and there's a bunch of other, like your brain on music kind of things.

This big body of research that looks at a lot of really small things or various things, very specific to other contexts that aren't the medical context. How do you translate that into therapeutic practice? How do you sort of pose the right questions so you can truly help people?


I love that question. Thank you so much. Because when you pose the right question, right, it's called a hypothesis. And fundamental, when you get a degree in music therapy, you start right off your freshman year doing research data collection, and it's all about training you.

You're a highly specialized musician from the medical sector realize, or psychiatric or whatever area that you go into, but you have to do scientific work. Even in clinical work. So unlike when you go into music school performance, you're not taught anything about data collection and stimulus response and Pavlov or you know, any of the kind of research design methodology, when and how you would use it, how you interpret that, that is literally your degree, your undergraduate, master's, or PhD.

So that's one. So, when you're trained to be a musician, a highly skilled and trained musician as a therapist, the thing that's fundamental is asking a better question. Then you design experiments to look and see from data. Data is how many times Tristra's gonna ask me a question in this interview, right?

I would literally count how many times. Did Tristra ask me a question in this interview and then if I wanted to compare to say, how many is she comfortable with asking on, on a norm, you would just simply count how many times Tristra ask people a question in her interviews. So that's just basic data, right?

You ask a question and then you get data, but the data then has to have a certain structure to it, to either look at the question I asked, is this sound, the specific sound designed to help support. Heel strike in a patient struggling with mobility heel strike, his pain will take one step to the next step.

So that question has to be formulated, right? Heel strike and then counted data, something to capture it and count how many times you walk in a minute, your heel hits the ground and how we would do something that we're gonna ask a question. So we want what? We wanna know if the heel strike is enough, right?

If they're walking enough in a minute to say that's norm, they don't have a problem or that they've got a problem. So when you ask that question, and Sound Steps has to take a quick diagnostic, we already know the norms because of good clinical practice and good physical therapist asking this question.

Normal walking, you're gonna walk anywhere from 90 up to 120 steps per minute. That's called the norm. We know that data cuz of good science, good questions, methodology. Ask that question and we can say, out of the millions of people on the planet, if you're walking below 90 steps per minute and you're at 80, if you're at 45, we know that you have a mild to moderate to severe mobility gain impairing.

So we take that data and we attach audio that's designed and ask the question, what audio needs to do to improve that? So you set up a research and design and you design a technology using that good methodology to be able to do that in audio design and to deliver audio that can ask those questions with millions of data feeds going through it very precisely to learn how to do the audio better.

Does this sound boom, boom, work better, or does bop? Well, we found out that boom, boom, like walking boom, boom, boom, boom, that kick drum that's in most rock and roll music, great for you, Tristra, and me even and bigger people.

But what we found out, there's a demographic you get from the science and within the medical devices used in treatment of mobility that shows the weight, shows the age, shows the height shows, the gender shows all of these things, even a diagnosis. And we've found that once you go below like 190, 80 pounds and you even get down to the kids that are using the equipment and they're 20, 30, 40 pounds.

That boom, boom literally makes them freeze up. The majority of those kids with cerebral palsy do not just take steps and instead of this kid who's walking 25 steps per minute, at least, you know, taking 25 steps in a given minute, they go to zero. Or barely any kind of movement. So those are the kind of questions that you wanna ask, and you wanna have the technology with that good methodology built into it that would be able to ask those questions that are more precisely look at the data and the correlates and the data to get these kids, get these adults to their intended outcome where they're all walking, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom to that sound.


Amazing. So I love that you're talking a bit about personalized treatment. And I know you kind of touched on that early on, that you don't wanna just that audio treatment, just like pharmaceutical treatment or treating cancer you don't wanna just like blast people with stuff and just kind of hope it works.

How do you account for some of these? Is it through just experimenting and learning as you go and gathering the data? How do you learn about some of these very, I don't wanna say completely idiopathic, but very, very small subpopulations and how they need to hear things in order to be properly treated.


All science and healthcare is an art, right? All science though, is an art and all art is a science and we forget that. We forget that. When I go over to Italy, it makes complete sense that the first country that went like Game Busters in using our product was Italy,and the doctors and all the hospitals there, the Renaissance right? Sciences and artists of science. Michelangelo was doing advanced scientific graphics and inventions while also, you know, creating the greatest works of art known to man. So, we kind of dumbed ourselves down separating these two. So you earlier made a beautiful opening about all the body of research out there.

When I studied to be music therapist, I didn't just go in and study Hill Strike.


That would get a little old.


So, you study the body of research and music and music therapy is broad and vast. It's the whole psyche of a person that's as ancient as 40,000 years ago we started, you know, composing and, and music for humanity.

We've used it spiritually. So you've gotta put all of the clinical research in context of the human being, the human soul. Right? I remember an Italian doctor, the very first thing he said, how do you do this scientific product and method and still treat the soul?

And I said, that's easy. It's music. You just design the music you bring forward the most. Important and the most vulnerable aspects of the patient in an acute setting. So you do it very simply and very maybe rhythmically and a little bit of other maybe force or dynamic type things, and you go very limbic light.

But as they get better and better and as a person, or when they're not on the treadmill working and walking, they're just sitting comfortably or they're laying in a bed, you can do all the spiritual. All the things that we know from the research that is the mind-body connection, that things that are harder to measure but still always a part of the human soul, the human experience.

So you have to remember that as we go into this world of more advanced technical capabilities, they're always only person-centered and never take your insights out of being able to handle the mysteries. In science we only ask a question because we're wanting those deeper insights, but we're mainly wanting to help.

Right? That's what's driven me in all the science and all the art and all of my music sounds like music, even though it's actual audio biofeedback. But I've used all my musical composition training and acoustic, we took acoustic music training, and even Midi and other scientific training along with behavioral science, medical, we do all the healing arts guided and imagery.

We have all that training and I'm capable of being an artist and a scientist and applying that in the right time for the right patient for the right target while also then pulling back and in the next moment talking to them about their soul and being able to do something so deeply moving and inspiring after we've finished that treatment that touches just the awe of loving being a human.


It must be a relief for many people to be able to reactivate that part of themselves. That did take for granted taking a step and then another right. So you're at this very vulnerable moment with people where they're trying to get something back that they've lost. And there's a lot of feelings about that as, you know, on the emotional level as well as the spiritual level. So that's really moving.


Let me tell you a story. Dr. Sachs is amazing and he's been a good friend of music therapist for years. My friend Connie Tanino up in New York, worked directly with Dr. Sachs, and I remember I was asked to speak by Connie at one of the neuro institutes and I was going up front to speak, and Dr. Sachs was sitting there and I said, Dr. Sachs, hi, what are you doing sitting here?

And I said, aren't you gonna come up with the speakers and be one of our speakers? He said, oh, no, no. You guys are so much more advanced and modern kind of practice. I was like, ah, here's a man that I've read all his books and my stomach lurches and drops because I flex peon compared to get up there.

But he made I talked to him later at, at lunch and we were talking about music therapy at that point in the nineties, we were still caught in this dilemma. Like most music therapists had all of these Parkinson's, mS, and stroke patients that were feeling exactly how you felt they were in our music therapy sessions cause they lost the ability to move and walk.

And so we're doing music therapy to help them deal with the depression and the anxiety. But at that conference I was talking about what I'm talking to you today about the ability to make the move first. Why not do both? Why not activate and design technologies and methodologies and interventions that could activate the motor cortex so they could move.

We knew that could happen, move better and while addressing depression, but get them so they could move. And I think that's been that kind of Catch 22 that earlier in my career that now I've been able to answer and leave as my trying to be a good ancestor and leave for the next generation and take the next pain point and work it out with good science and great art.

But that's an actual story. That's a real situation I dealt with in conversations with Dr. Sachs and Connie Tanino that we dealt with in the nineties that no longer have to be a dilemma.

Cultural Aspects of Biomedicine


You mentioned some of the adoption of Sound Steps in Italy, and I'm curious if you've gotten feedback from Italian clinicians on what works best for that specific cultural milia and though Italy is actually, you know, a bunch of different cultures, one could argue. I'm curious if you've had a moment or a chance to gather any data about cultural specificity, do you think that the, I mean, there's sort of general physiological principles that you're queuing into.

Are there some cultural aspects you think need to be addressed with products like this that are important?


Absolutely. And so again, you're given a good opportunity to bring up real situations. So when I launched the product there, I was asked and honored to speak and train at five different large, the largest neuro institutes in rehab institutes in Italy.

And the top doctors, they're amazing. They would bring me in and then they, Hardy brought our product in and I trained 'em on the product. But I get they'd have the whole staff, all the therapists and the doctors there and I got to speak with them and then, and got a lot of chances to have long conversations and ongoing conversations.

So one of the things one of the main MDs did over there, he said, before I even talked, he said, realize this is not an apples to apples conversation. What Ms. Young is going to be saying. We are definitely apples to oranges in our cultural context of treatment for movement disorders in Italy versus America.

So one thing, it's that whole system. If you're in Italy and an Italian, you automatically have two weeks of rehab. Twice a year of intensive rehab is soon as you're diagnosed with Parkinson's. So that means like the Granada Institute, like on Lake Como. It's gorgeous. And it's paid for, no, it doesn't matter if you've been living with no income or if you are a billionaire, you have two weeks of intensive rehab and in the room that they use the biodex gait training.

Gait training system with music-assisted therapy. There's been another, that treadmill in the same room. The patient says 20 minutes there, then they go to 20 minutes of augmented reality treadmill, and then they have a treadmill in the water. And they do that daily for two weeks and then they have dance.

So I met physiotherapist PTs and in that physiotherapy team, they had physiotherapists that were either trained in dance or they had dance therapists. Trained to be assistants in PT and those patients dance, they make music, they sing, they don't necessarily have, they don't have music therapists. That's just much more natural.

The patients themselves, I was in the emergency department, they spontaneously start to sing in the ER together. And the doctors do not specialize in neurology over there 'til way into their practice. They told me how they feel that dumbs down the doctors that you over specialize too soon.

So they are not allowed to do that. They know like what you have your primary care physician, your integrative care, they do all of that first for many years before they're ever allowed to specialize in neurology. So it's so different when music is such a natural part of the culture. Also when you have treatment using advanced technology and art and everybody gets treatment, patients look totally different.

When we look at the research over there, and there's a lot now using our product and it's exciting. I know I have to take those outcomes and considered iteration because a patient here, You don't see many Parkinson's patients that get any intensive training. You know, twice a year for two weeks.

Many don't get any training, any PT for like 15 years after diagnosis. They may get medication, but they're not going to get it unless they have money. Medicare is only gonna pay for maybe one or two weeks of PT, but that's if you've fallen or if you're deteriorated. So after they start keeping people, they start keeping people well on diagnosis.

We make people fall off the cliff or go over the waterfall and crash before we ever get care. So that's why we have a more expensive model. That's why the cost is going up. That's why all our revenue models only reinforce sick care here. I know that when I'm looking at research in different countries, healthcare systems, and about Italy in particular, every music and art is an art, and art is a science.

It's just not so delineated and it's used all over the place, whether you're in the hospital or at home.

Making Music Therapy Accessible


I love how, just seeing different ways that we could apply some of these ideas and technologies, hints at, some of the fundamental struggles of the US healthcare system. You've chosen a really challenging path, hope, where you have the music industry on one hand, where I know you're probably not using a ton of commercial releases, but that could be something potentially that could be really helpful in a music therapeutic product. And then you have folks like the FDA, just the mechanics of the US system, which is built basically around pharmaceuticals, not non-pharmaceutical treatments.

How have you navigated that? What would allow us to provide more access to music therapies or art therapies or other therapies that are beyond sort of just the basic, like, you know, prescriptions that seem to be favored at the moment?


Absolutely. And you're right, bringing the arts more in, not having, we gatekeep so intensively for good reasons, but we haven't allowed kind of like a sponge, a little bit more of soft openings and other ways to vet and allow that to more easily flow more naturally, like in Italy.

One of the things that I think we need to look at is both in the arts and science world and in the music world. I'll speak to you directly since both in the medical and in the music industry I do a lot in the regulatory and legislative space. And when we're talking about the arts, those fully encompass us from before we're even born.

We're hearing and listening and responding to music and sound in the womb, and it's the very last sense that goes offline as you die. So, it needs to be accessible always, but with the technology and the landscape that I've designed for, you can have music, like you said, like that is just for mass consumption, but you can design like audio and things the way I've done it with the methodology that you get a baseline.

Right. So that we're, it's especially if you're an acute and subacute. Once you, let me just say this, lemme answer your question this way.

Help, feel, treat, let's just think of that, those three words. Let's just think about from the far left side to the far right side, over here you're helping people through art and music.

Right? And you know that you do that every day. Right. And we want that beautiful spiritual broth. And no matter where you are, and whatever point you're going through in life, we know that it heals. And the reason is we know the power of art to heal. And every person is musical. Every person is creative and an artist.

So we want to use that with each other and not be restricted. But then we get to treatment, and we do have this definitive line that is called the regulatory legislative. Space that is FDA approval and stuff. And we have that when it comes to treatment and why we design hospitals so sterile, right?

Because we didn't know about microbes that would get in your body, infect you. And we were doing amputations and people were dying from infections, right? But the science taught us to create a different environment for that treatment. That was called sterile. Sterile environment you can go through something like losing a limb and actually heal from it.

And start to walk again with an adaptive device. So this is why we created that space that you're asking me about. And I designed the technology the way I did for that space, so we know that when your heart rate and you start having a panic attack or anxiety and or your blood pressure's dropping or increasing, that there's audio already there.

There's a visual already there, that we know what your norm is that can start to play, that will actually correct it better than the pharmaceutical and faster, right? That's what my product's whole aims are, that we're non-pharmaceutical audio in the environment that instead is monitoring, be turned to treating it.

That's where it will be. And from there, as long as you have that system in place and you start to bring in on an unconscious person something from their playlist that you love, like when you play a song from your mom, right? As she's lying there, and it's those situations, none of us won't put music in touch and make us feel whole and connected.

If that monitor starts to go off, you know that you may be playing a song that's reminding her at that moment of somebody else that died, or painful memory. So with biomedical music instead, the biomedical music could come back on, get it regulated, you can then go back to her playlists that knows to be watching for these unintended consequences called autobiographical memory.

And a person who is cognitively impaired can't speak and it can be monitored and corrected. Brought into situations where, one of the biggest things I can tell you outside of like medical things from a psychiatric standpoint, and my mom was bipolar, so I grew up with this knowing acute psychiatric and suicidal thinking, is that a lot of times people naturally go to spiritual music in intense times, and that's so natural and healing.

But one of the things women especially, and men, have not been able to speak about when they're in acute situations is sexual abuse. It's just the hardest thing to say or speak about. So sometimes if it's been somebody in your church, especially like a priest or a trusted spiritual person that sexually assaulted you, the spirituals, the singing, those overwhelming presence, and you're in an acute psychiatric or an acute or subacute, or not even acute situation, and you see a person just overly smiling that has Alzheimer's rocking and showing more anxious, but they're showing that smiling behavior, we also wanna back off the music and try something else. Because working with women and men for so many years and seeing them on that journey to how to refine music, to refine art, to refine spiritual spaces that are safe, what I call the sacred secular space where you get to ask and rebuild your spirit.

And you can't unpair it very easily, those autobiographical memories that we treasure. But you don't think about music as a double-edged sword there. And those memories, like my husband is an army veteran. PTSD is real. The music is in their back pocket as they drive out.

The idea explodes. Two people died. One's face was blown off, the other had a link. And this person who survived. You have to be really careful. About autobiographical memories. So that's why I designed biomedical music so carefully the way I did. So we could attach it for those transformative memories and those times, but you folks who are more laypeople when you're trying to do the right healing thing, and you're triggering and you don't know it.

So that's one reason that I'm designing with that knowledge and somebody who's lived that full spectrum to help us bring wisely that care into better care, instead of being floppy again.


That is so thought-provoking because I think people often emphasize, I mean, music is powerful and anything powerful can have amazing benefits and it can also do harm, right? And I think thinking about the harm side is not what a lot of folks in music like to do, but it can do harm.

And audio can cause like you're saying, cause these deep reactions that are sometimes hard to identify if you're not familiar with people's mind states, if they've got a chronic condition. And then there's just the very fact that, you know, there are audio weapons.

As we're moving towards these non-pharmaceutical treatments, we need to take them seriously as powerful mechanisms, and not just like, I play the didgeridoo do so that, you know, you're in, for hospice patients or whatever. I mean, I don't mean to belittle that, but that tends to be what people keep in mind.


You are giving this incredible opportunity to speak about it, right. And people get it. They just, it's we, the music industry since a member of the Grammys, it's decades worth of education in the industry. Decades worth of finding partners that would help me break rules.

Break those rules in audio engineering. Break the science, bring in a generation that was ready to break rules, break software to design new technology for this space beyond just where free speech reigns. Like we've gotta be really clear in the music industry of keeping free speech, but then designing audio and being prepared for this whole medical sector where we know how to do this and there's just so many possibilities with designing and bringing audio, and even artists that want to work in that regulated space, that it's the same level of play and liability that everybody else is playing in, and already is there.

That's my next 25 years. I wanna be a good human, a good ancestor to the next generation. I wanna help take the wisdom, the knowledge and technology is a good way to do it. And these conversations with you are just so priceless. And I thank you for your wonderful, compelling question, and everybody who's spending time to listen and consider how to work together, right? And to learn and to grow together. How to do this more wholly together.


Music Tectonics at NAMM 2023

Let us know what you think! Tweet @MusicTectonics, find us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram, or connect with podcast host Dmitri Vietze on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

The Music Tectonics podcast goes beneath the surface of the music industry to explore how technology is changing the way business gets done. Weekly episodes include interviews with music tech movers & shakers, deep dives into seismic shifts, and more.


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