I sometimes feel like I've spent half of my postdoc doing research and the other half giving talks. But this is actually awesome for me because I love giving talks. Not only does it help improve my public speaking and teaching skills, but I've been able to make some awesome connections and explore different institutions across the city.
Two weeks ago, I took the train out to Stony Brook University to speak at their Language, Music, and Emotion Research Group, which is made up of scientists from the psychology and linguistics department. It was a really fun group to chat with. Aside from psychologists and linguists, there were music therapists and even literary scholars who attended the talk. One of my favorite parts about studying music is how truly interdisciplinary the field is.
This talk at Stony Brook (like my previous talk at Notre Dame) is a great example of how making friends at conferences can help your academic career. [Note: I have zero actual evidence that giving these talks has helped my career at all, but it can't hurt, right?]. I was invited to speak at the Stony Brook lecture series by Nicole Calma, a grad student in Linguistics. Nicole and I met just by going to each other's posters every year at the CNS meeting. I highly encourage any trainees looking to make similar connections to get involved in the CNS Trainee Association.
My next talk was a little outside of the typical setting, at the NYC Monthly Music Hackathon. TBH, before this I didn't really know what a hackathon was. Basically, they start off with a series of short talks to set up the subject, and then people break into groups and spend several hours 'hacking,' or producing some kind of a product related to the day's topic. Each month the hackathon is about a different music-related topic; this month's was 'music with a purpose.' I talked about my research on music and memory and heard a bunch of really interesting talks from the other speakers.
Joanne Loewy, a music therapist, spoke on her work at the Louis Armstrong Department of Music Therapy at Mount Sinai. And Martin Urbach spoke about his work as a music educator, using music for social justice activism in teens. Really cool stuff. His talk inspired me to start reading "Teaching to Transgress" by bell hooks and I am loving it so far. I hadn't read bell hooks since my undergrad women's studies days, and had no idea she wrote on teaching. Unfortunately I didn't stay for the hacking part of the day, so I have yet to find out what the hackers came up with!
At the hackathon, I met Joseph Borrello, a grad student at Mount Sinai who organizes a Music and Medicine course for medical and graduate students. Joe said their course had a last-minute speaker cancellation that week and he invited me to fill in. Unable to resist an opportunity to talk with people (and consider it work), I accepted. The course is kind of like a speaker series, and different students show up every week. It was a fun chance to visit Mount Sinai and chat with a small group of students and postdocs about my research.
So that's the end of my talks for the near future. But, I'm teaching two classes at NYU (Cog Neuro + Music in J-Term, and Intro Psych in the Spring) so I guess I'll be giving "talks" on the reg... now time to go start preparing my lectures!