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Members of the UD Wind Ensemble and West Point Band perform "The
Stars and Stripes Forever" by John Philip Sousa during the March 3
concert, “Let Freedom Ring.”
The audience was
typical for a School of Music concert — a mix of University students,
friends of the performers, parents and community music lovers. And for
much of the event, they behaved like a typical audience at a classical
music concert — listening politely and applauding enthusiastically.
However, for some, the collaborative concert was far from typical, as
they had opted to participate in a research study tracking how
audiences’ emotional response to music is influenced by
The program combined patriotic and classical music, with pieces by
Keki Abe, Gustav Holst, Igor Stravinsky and John Philip Sousa. Audience
members who had opted to participate in the study were asked to download
an emotion-tracker app that used a Positive and Negative Affect
Schedule (PANAS scale). At four points during the evening, they used the
app to track their emotional response to the music being played.
The concert was the first project in a planned five-year research
initiative between the University of Delaware and the United States
Military Academy’s West Point Music Research Center (WPMRC), whose
mission focuses on increasing “the knowledge of music as a ubiquitous
component of cultural and national identity.”
“Music is such a vital element of a healthy, thriving community, and
we are proud and excited to partner with West Point on this innovative
research project,” UD President Dennis Assanis said. “This collaboration
will enable UD to continue expanding its own interdisciplinary research
in a variety of fields while also enhancing WPMRC’s important work.”
Move this whole section up, swapping places with the section above it.
A study participant uses the emotion-tracker app during the March 3 concert.
The March 3 concert marked the start of the initiative, formally
known as a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA). Its
scope will extend throughout campus beyond the School of Music.
Additional research plans include partnerships with the College of
Health Sciences to explore the effects of music for the performance
optimization of military and athletic teams, the use of music as a tool
for recovery from minor traumatic brain injuries and even music’s
interaction with broadcast media and information theory.
Brigadier General Shane R. Reeves, dean of the academic board at West
Point, adds that this is a new paradigm in musical research. “This
exciting opportunity will advance our understanding of the impacts of
music on the human condition. We look forward to strengthening our
research partnership with the University of Delaware over the coming
UD President Dennis Assanis signs the CRADA between West Point
Military Academy and the University of Delaware. He is joined by (front
row from left) Suzanne Burton, College of Arts and Sciences associate
dean for the arts; Sgt. Major Denver Dill; Kathy Matt, College of Health
Sciences retired dean; (back row from left) John Pelesko, College of
Arts and Sciences dean; UD First Lady Eleni Assanis; Mark Clodfelter,
School of Music interim director, Buzz Swanik, College of Health
Sciences deputy dean; and Chief Warrant Officer T.J. Jackson.
A Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) is a formal
written agreement of limited duration and scope between a government and
After the initial COVID-19 shutdown in 2020, as organizations began
exploring how to safely resume live music performances, the WPMRC was
studying aerosol production and how air particulates were dispersed by
various instruments and while singing. Associate Dean for the Arts
Suzanne Burton and School of Music Interim Director Mark Clodfelter
discussed the findings with Sergeant Major Denver Dill and Chief Warrant
Officer T.J. Jackson, co-founders of the WPMRC.
“We started having conversations about music, music development and
sound,” Burton says. “Because it’s about music, but it’s not all about
music. It’s also about sound and sonic branding.” Think of the sound you
hear when you open Netflix or Law and Order’s iconic ‘dun-dun.’
Dr. Burton, Sgt. Maj. Dill and Chief Jackson kept discussing
possibilities for a research partnership, with WPMRC eventually
presenting a proposal to UD’s Research Council. Through conversations
with Kathleen Matt, retired dean of the College of Health Sciences (CHS)
and Charles “Buz” Swanik, deputy dean of CHS, the CRADA took form with
suggested ideas for performance optimization, as well as health and
wellness related studies.
After several months of negotiations, the current CRADA was signed in
2022 by President Assanis and USMA at West Point Superintendent LTG
Darryl A. Williams.
This is the third CRADA the University has signed with partners in
recent years. UD signed a CRADA in 2019 on behalf of the National
Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL),
which has its headquarters on STAR Campus. Before that, then University
president Patrick Harker signed a CRADA in January 2010 for an agreement between UD and the U.S. Army at Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG).
Article by Megan M.F. Everhart, photos by Evan Krape
Published May 08, 2023