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Northwestern Buffett Institute for Global Affairs

Trauma, Music, and the Breath

The Trauma, Music, and the Breath Working Group will draw on music and the breath to help Generation C children process the collective trauma of the COVID-19 global pandemic and illuminate effective interventions for improving human health and well-being.
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About the Project

With a focus of contributing toward United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #3: Good Health and Well-being, The Trauma, Music, and the Breath Working Group will develop evidence-based musical interventions to help children around the world process the collective trauma of the global COVID-19 pandemic, including developmental disruptions stemming from interrupted schooling and reduced socialization. These interventions will be implemented in elementary schools and community centers around the world to help children process trauma experienced as a result of the global pandemic, enabling them to thrive in their educational and home communities. Community leaders, classroom teachers, music educators, musicians, counselors, pediatricians, psychologists, and psychiatrists will have access to the training and the tools to teach others how to use music and breath to support children processing trauma.

The group will investigate the effects of the interventions they design using both biomedical and qualitative behavioral data collection strategies. Research findings will illuminate best practices for leveraging group singing, rhythm and breathing techniques as interventions for children processing trauma worldwide. They will also inform the development of pedagogical materials, training programs, and university-level curricular changes designed to foster larger-scale implementation of best practices and increased global impact.

Group Members

Heather Aranyi (Northwestern University, Lyric Opera of Chicago)*

Sarah Bartolome (Music Education, Bienen School of Music)*

Deb Birnbaum (Metropolitan Opera)

Teresa Brancaccio (Voice and Opera, Bienen School of Music)

Michelle Buck (Kellogg School of Management)

Amanda Draper (Music Education, Bienen School of Music)

Melissa Foster (Theatre, School of Communication)

Ben Gorvine (Psychology, Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences)

Nancy Gustafson (Voice and Opera, Bienen School of Music)

Kurt Hansen (Voice and Opera, Bienen School of Music)

Mark Werwath (Kellogg School of Management)


*indicates group leaders