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Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — University of Iowa psychologist Kelly Pelzel is working with sixth-grade band and orchestra students at Harding Middle School in Cedar Rapids to help children recognize how their body, behavior, and brain are connected, and how they can learn to control their own mental state.
Pelzel is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry in the Carver College of Medicine at the University of Iowa. She is collaborating with creative technologist Jason Snell and master arts educator Christina Farrell.
Project description: The ME Residency (M = Mind, Meditation, Music; E = Exploration, Electricity, Enhancement) is aimed at making connections between brain science, mental well-being, music and technology through a series of workshops through a unique hands-on experience.
Students will be wearing a Muse (neurofeedback) headband and making music with their brain waves with software Snell developed. The headband measures the electrical activity of brain waves and Snell’s software converts that information into music.
What you will see: When a child sits down to use the ME Station they will put on the EEG headband, which is a test that measures electrical activity in the brain. The student will select the music kit they wish to use and begin their musical journey as they compose music with their brain waves. During classroom workshops, students will compose their own music for band as a creative expression of their learning.
Simply put, this is a super cool experience for both kids — and adults, Pelzel said. In addition to hearing the music change in real time, kids will be able to see changes in their brain waves through a simple graphic representation on the software app.
The goal is to give children the experience of observing their own brain activity and to try out strategies like deep breathing, visualization and muscle relaxation to change their mental state in a captivating and creative way.
The workshops are being held from Nov. 1-15.
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