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Dear Animal-Loving Friends,
I began my study of psychoacoustics – how music affects the human nervous system – in 1986. I’ve written books, created soundtracks, and taught extensively throughout US and Europe. When pianist Lisa Spector approached me in 2003, wondering if I could apply psychoacoustics to dogs, this brought an expanded opportunity to study sound, now on the mammalian nervous system. I said yes, and BioAcoustic Research was launched.
That was seventeen years ago, and the beautiful piano music of Through a Dog’s Ear and Through a Cat’s Ear has been successfully employed in countless homes, clinics, and shelters around the world. Lisa’s hypothesis was correct: classical music has a great calming effect on pets. Specialized classical music has an even greater impact.
Since our first soundtracks became available in 2008, clinical research into music for pets has continued. What I see – looking across the spectrum of studies from 2001-2020 – is that there are polite disagreements between researchers. For example, some studies conclude that dogs have no preference in musical styles; other researchers think otherwise. Some studies consider classical music to be the gold standard of calming music; however, a recent shelter study determined that more uptempo contemporary musical styles were actually even more effective than classical. This same study also concluded that one style of music, if played repeatedly in a shelter, had diminished effect after a few days. The need for further study of mixed musical style playlists was recommended.
All researchers do concur that further study on music for pets is warranted and necessary. They agree that music definitively has an impact on the mammalian nervous system (including humans) and that evolving technologies will guide a more precise use of sound and music.
The contribution that BioAcoustic Research brought forth, beginning in 2003, continues with new musical content for homes, shelters, and clinics. My team is in the studio creating new soundtracks – borrowing from the wisdom of collective research. We’re excited about the next generation of Through a Dog’s Ear music.*
With our big brains and formidable thumbs, humans must be dedicated guardians of our planet. With this sentiment, especially in these chaotic times, I’m resolute in bringing forward world-class, leading edge soundtracks for the benefit of everyone with ears.
Your thoughts and experiences are always welcome. Please reach out to me at Joshua.Leeds@iCalmPet.com.
* Cat lovers, the majority of pet music research has been with canines. However, we’ve found that most of what works with dogs applies positively to felines, as well. At BioAcoustic Research, we supplement canine-related soundtracks with feline-specific sonic anchoring and frequency modulation techniques.
– Joshua Leeds
Producer, Through a Dog/Cat’s Ear music series
President, BioAcoustic Research, Inc.