St. Vincent, Peter Gabriel Join The Sync Project to Explore Music as Medicine

The Sync Project aims to identify how the mental and physiological impact of music can be better used in therapy.

Johnny Firecloudby Johnny Firecloud

Peter Gabriel, St. Vincent, Jon Hopkins, and others have signed on to help The Sync Project — a new initiative spearheaded by former Nokia design head Marko Ahtisaari to explore the potential uses of music as medicine. 

Research has shown that music has a profound effect on the brain, triggering neural networks related to movement, cognition, learning, memory and emotion. When we’re in need of a mood shift, a song can have immediate impact, a higher form of language that both stimulates and manipulates our emotional framework. But research has shown that pain, fatigue, anxiety and sleeplessness are also significantly impacted by music – and that’s what The Sync Project aims to understand. 

The collaboration will see the artists joining the effort to research the therapeutic properties of music, and helping to raise the project’s awareness. For the endeavor, Gabriel, St. Vincent’s Annie Clark and Jon Hopkins are joined by renowned composer and conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen of the London Philharmonia Orchestra.

“We’re very much looking for musicians and creators who have an active relationship with technology,” says Sync Project CEO Marko Ahtisaari. “I felt that was a common denominator for everyone, in slightly different ways… It wasn’t so much about the contents of the music, or to commission any work. These are creative thinkers — let’s involve them.” 

A collection of researchers in the fields of music, neurology, design, technology and beyond have partnered to explore how music can be used for therapeutic means. It’s been noted that music affects neurochemical systems such as dopamine response, autonomic nervous system and more. Stress, movement, learning, and memory have all been recognized as being impacted by music, and The Sync Project aims to hone this data to become the “first algorithmic music therapeutics company.” 

“The Sync Project’s mission is to develop music as medicine,” explains Ahtisaari. “We are bringing together the scientists, technologists, clinicians and musicians of the world to accelerate the discovery of the clinical applications of music. We’re building a data platform that maps music characteristics to real-time, objective measurements of physiology from a rapidly growing variety of sensors and devices.”

For more information on the project, check out The Sync Project’s official website here.