Tag: Music

Connecting through Music

TAU’s Institute for Promoting Dialogue through Music is pioneering a new tool for bringing people closer together

In Israel’s fractured society – Arab vs. Jew; religious vs. secular; Ashkenazi vs. Sephardi; Left vs. Right – there is a critical need to bring people closer together. Now, a unique institute launched at TAU’s Jaime and Joan Constantiner School of Education uses the power of music to promote dialogue in Israeli society. The Institute was initiated by TAU Governor and donor Aviad Meitar, and is being run by Israeli composer, conductor and educator Dr. Ori Leshman. 

“Music is a dialogue between composer and lyricist, between performer and audience,” says Dr. Leshman. “My vision is to use music as a kind of emotional technology tool to extend this dialogue beyond the music – to unite people from dissimilar cultural, ethnic or national backgrounds, overcome barriers, and improve society in Israel and worldwide.”

The “Music for Dialogue” (MFD method and programs were collectively pioneered by Leshman, Aviad Meitar and businessman and entrepreneur Amnon Herzig, a member of the Advisory Council of the Institute. Meitar developed a project entitled, “Music as a Tool for Conflict Resolution,” during his 2016 Fellowship at the Advanced Leadership Initiative at Harvard University.

He is a second generation member of the Meitar family, major benefactors to TAU in the fields of law, management and philanthropy studies. Meitar’s sister, Dafna Meitar-Nechmad, is co-chair of the TAU $1 billion Global Campaign.​

Mr. Aviad Meitar and Prof. Joseph Klafter (Photo: Israel Hadari)

Benefiting from TAU’s interdisciplinary campus culture, the new Institute combines music with education, psychology, brain studies, sociology, communication and data science.

It promotes research on the influence of music, with several promising studies already enriching knowledge and contributing to a more intelligent use of music to create dialogue in a wide range of disciplines, including therapeutic ones.

Additional activities include teaching; support for student ventures; conferences and workshops; grants to students with special achievements; and social projects.

How It Works

Leshman describes how, at student workshops, the MFD method breaks down barriers. Before their first weekly meeting, students enter songs that are most meaningful to them onto the website Pick-A-Music (www.pickamusic.com).,The site was conceived by Leshman as a social platform for sharing musical and personal experiences and facilitating the group activities that are part of the MFD in-depth process.

“Then, during the workshop, something amazing happens,” says Leshman. “In no time participants begin sharing intimate personal stories with one another though they never met before.” Workshop participants often surprise one another with their musical preferences and even more so with their stories. “We can see that we mustn’t judge people. They’re much more complex than we think, as are their musical identities,” he says.  

Leshman is not naive enough to believe that Music for Dialogue can solve all the problems between populations that live so close to one another but rarely interact.

“The idea is ‘let’s first get to know one another as human beings,’ and music is an amazing tool for that,” he says.

Institute founder Aviad Meitar is a TAU alumnus in law and has an MBA from Boston University Graduate School of Management. He has been Chairman of Quadrant European Beverages Ltd., the Pepsi bottler for Bulgaria, since 2007. Mr. Meitar is married with three children. He plays the French horn with various amateur orchestras.  

Featured image: From left: Dr. Ori Leshman, Mr. Amnon Herzig, Mr. Aviad Meitar and TAU President Joseph Klafter. Photo: Israel Hadari

You can’t stop this music

On May 5th, a virtual celebration of piano music will begin at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music

We’ve got some great news for lovers of classical music and piano in particular. Tel Aviv University’s Buchmann-Mehta School of Music is a partner in the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition, considered one of the biggest and most important contests in the classical music world. This year, due to the global crisis, the event has been postponed and instead a virtual festival will be held in the same timeframe.

The highlight of the festival will be live broadcasts from Claremont Hall at Tel Aviv University, including 12 piano recitals featuring the next generation of Israeli pianists. Seven of the chosen musicians are honors students from the school, and two more are graduates who have gone on to careers abroad.

The festival will begin on May 5th and continue for two weeks. Every day, at 18:00, events will be broadcast on the Facebook pages of the Rubinstein Competition and the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music.

Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition Facebook Page >

Buchman-Mehta School of Music Facebook page >

Show Me Your Playlist And I’ll Tell You Who You Are

Could you be inadvertently channeling your inner Beyonce or Eminem?

A new study shows that three songs from a playlist are enough to identify the person who chose the songs. Hence, companies like YouTube and Spotify can accumulate a great deal of information about their users based only on their musical preferences. The study was led by Dr. Ori Leshman of The Jaime and Joan Constantiner School of Education at Tel Aviv University and Dr. Ron Hirschprung of the Department of Management and Industrial Engineering at Ariel University. The study was published in the journal Telematics and Informatics. The study included about 150 young people (all undergraduate students), in 4 groups of about 35 people each. Participants were asked to identify group members based on only three songs from their favorite playlist. The variety of the students’ musical preferences was wide and very diverse, including, for example, both old and new Israeli music (from Sasha Argov to Kaveret, Zohar Argov, Omer Adam and Hanan Ben Ari), classic rock and pop (from the Beatles and Pink Floyd to Beyonce and Ariana Grande), Israeli and international hip hop (from Kendrick Lamar and Eminem to Hadag Nahash and Tuna) and more. The song choices were then analyzed according to a mathematical model developed by the scholars. The findings surprised even the researchers. The analysis of the data showed that the group members were able to identify the study participants according to their musical taste at a very high level of between 80-100%, even though the group members did not know each other well and had no prior knowledge of each other’s musical preferences. Dr. Leshman and Dr. Hirschprung explain: “Music can become a form of characterization, and even an identifier. It provides commercial companies like Google and Spotify with additional and more in-depth information about us as users of these platforms. In the digital world we live in today, these findings have far-reaching implications on privacy violations, especially since information about people can be inferred from a completely unexpected source, which is therefore lacking in protection against such violations. Visiting YouTube is perceived by the ordinary person as an innocuous act, but this study shows that it can reveal a lot about that person. On the other hand, this knowledge can be used as a bridge between people and perhaps in the future lead to the creation of new diagnostic methods and fascinating intervention programs that will make use of people’s favorite music.”

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