This Sounds Like Science

Inspiring Australia’s second series of science and music talks begin on Thursday 8 February 2018 with a presentation from Dr Catherine Crock, a paediatrician at the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne. The founder of the Hush Foundation, Dr Crock has introduced music into hospital settings to reduces stress and anxiety in young patients, their parents and the medical professionals who care for them.

Dr Crock established the The Hush Foundation after she began working with children with leukaemia and other cancers.

“My first day on the job was a real shock when I realised how much we had to restrain these children to do procedures on them,” she recently told journalist Nathan Scolaro writing for Dumbo Feather.

“The senior nurse assisting me explained that the treatment room had just been soundproofed. So the children were having to have multiple bone marrow tests and lumbar punctures over the course of their cancer treatment, which lasts two or three years. And it was my job to do the procedures.”

“We gave them a bit of a sedative, but it wasn’t sorting out the pain management and the kids were getting stressed in our arms. They were even stressed being out in the waiting room with their parents”

With five young children of her own, Dr Crock started to consider the impact of this treatment on the children and their families – and the medical staff.

“I was coming from a mother’s perspective thinking, What if it was my kid?”

After speaking to parents, patients and colleagues, Dr Crock founded the Hush Foundation to comission music specifically for application within healthcare. Working alongside anaesthetists in the development of new pain relief systems, Dr Crock sought to reduce the stress and anxiety felt by patients, families and staff.

The Hush music collection has since transformed the environment of operating theatres and recovery rooms through the use of specially composed music from some of Australia’s foremost musicians and composers. This music is now played in hospitals, homes and shared spaces across the globe.

When: Thursday 8 February 2018
Where: City Recital Hall, Angel Place, Sydney
Cost: free with registration

Register to attend Music in the Operating Theatre

Upcoming events

Have you ever pondered the inextricable link between science and music? City Recital Hall and Inspiring Australia invite you to explore music on a different level in our free lunchtime series This Sounds Like Science.

Leading Australian researchers lend their expertise to topics including the role of music in breakthrough scientific studies on mental health, memory and even its effectiveness in the operating theatre.

  • Music And The Cosmos – Wednesday 11 April 12.30pm
    The link between music and the cosmos runs deep. The concept of the harmony of the spheres has roots in Pythagorean times, when the harmonies of sound were related to the vibrations on a string. Wave-like patterns that embody sound also govern the motion of the planets, appear in the patterns of galaxies, and even determine the properties of particles. This may seem mystical, but it isn’t. When it comes to physics the rules are simple, and there are a limited number of moves nature can make. Like a chess player with restricted pieces, the universe repeatedly applies the same tools to counter diverse situations. Discover the deep connection between music and the universe around us through Gustav Holst’s The Planets accompanied by acclaimed astrophysicist Professor Tamara Davis.
  • Music And Mental Health – Wednesday 18 July 12.30pm
    The association between music and the mind is complex. Research studies suggest significant effects of music on our mental and physical health, but how can this information be used in practice to improve our wellbeing? Join researchers Dr Sandra Garrido and Professor Katherine Boydell in an interactive session to experience firsthand how music can affect your mood. Discover how data visualisation and other techniques are used by mental health researchers to explore the relationship between music and the experience of anxiety and depression in order to help manage these conditions across the lifespan.
  • Music And Memory – Thursday 9 August 12.30pm
    Memory and music are intimately connected. A piece of music can suddenly transport us back in time to relive defining events from our past, strengthening our sense of self and connection to others. Loss of memory represents one of the most devastating symptoms of dementia, yet mounting evidence suggests that musical abilities and memory for musical pieces may be preserved in these syndromes. Join Professor Muireann Irish to explore how the brain responds to music, giving rise to such powerful effects even in the face of advancing pathology? And how can we harness music to improve wellbeing and quality of life for those affected by dementia?
  • Music And Human Evolution – Wednesday 3 October 12.30pm
    When did the first humans begin to make music? What kind of music did they play? Join anthropologist and evolutionary biologist Darren Curnoe to explore the role music played in the lives of our Palaeolithic ancestors as well as more recent hunters and gatherers. Learn about how making music is unique to the human species and how our brains may have been hardwired by evolution for music and other complex forms of aural communication.