Music and the Mind

Renée Fleming is passionate about the central importance of music and the arts in our society. Most of us have, at times, felt moved or comforted by music, but scientists are now discovering that music can teach us a lot about the brain itself. Music engages many neural regions at once, and evidence suggests that it can shape and even alter our brains. And the field of music therapy offers decades of experience supporting the healing potential of music in a range of healthcare settings.


Renée with the Different Strokes for Different Folks choir

With Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the NIH, Renée visits the lab of Dr. John Tisdale, Senior Investigator in Molecular and Clinical Hematology

Inspired by the Sound Health initiative she spearheads at the Kennedy Center, Renée has created a presentation called Music and the Mind. Designed for a general audience, Music and the Mind explores the power of music as it relates to health and the brain. Topics include childhood development, music therapy, and cognitive neuroscience.

Renée giving a Music and the Mind presentation at Vanderbilt University, with Dr Reyna Gordon and researchers. Photo: Vanderbilt University / Steve Green)

Renée invites experts around the country to present their research and discuss their experience as part of her presentations.  She also investigates the evolutionary role music may have played in creating community, as well as case studies and individual stories of how music has changed lives. In each location, she collaborates with leading neuroscientists, researchers, and music therapists. Renée’s goal is to bring this information to her audience and amplify the amazing work happening at the intersection of music, health, and neuroscience.


Since September 2017, Renée has presented Music and the Mind in more than 20 cities across North America, including delivering the Pritzker Lecture for the Chicago Public Library and the Compton Lecture at MIT.