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Hypnotherapy and Creativity with Vanessa Cornett-Murtada

St. Thomas professor Dr. Vanessa Cornett-Murtada specializes in teaching piano, creativity, and performance anxiety reduction techniques. In this episode of Composer Quest, Vanessa shares some tips on getting past mental blocks as a composer, and she explains how hypnotherapy can be helpful in reducing stress, increasing productivity, and sparking creativity. She also explains why Brahms is her favorite composer.

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Daniel Levitin on Evolution and Songwriting

Daniel Levitin - Composer Quest (Arsenio Corôa)

Musician, neuroscientist, and author Daniel Levitin has brought music psychology to the masses with This is Your Brain on Music and The World in Six Songs. For today's episode of Composer Quest, I got to interview Dan about why humans evolved to be musical. Dan also shares songwriting tips he's learned in talking with Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Sting, Stephen Stills, and Victor Wooten. In the second half of the episode, you'll hear Dan perform a couple of his own songs, including an exclusive debut of his new song "The Hole Inside My Head."

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Geriatric Songwriters and Music Therapy with Angela Johnson

Angela Johnson - Composer Quest

It isn't every day you hear about a CD release party at a nursing home. Music therapist Angela Johnson worked with some older folks to create a CD of songs that include everything from sage advice to dog barks. In this episode of Composer Quest, Angela gives us the lowdown on being a music therapist, and she shares what it's like dealing with death on a regular basis. She also plays some of her beautiful songs live.

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Superfan Dan Wheeler’s Top 10 Composer Quest Memories


I've been putting out more Composer Quest episodes over the past year and a half than most people can keep up with. So I was taken aback when I heard that Dan Wheeler had listened to all 90+ episodes TWICE (and some three times)! In this 99th Composer Quest episode, Dan shares his top ten moments from the podcast and talks about how they influenced his composing style.

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Composing Tips from Triple Major Alex Cooke

Alex Cooke Composer Quest

Alex Cooke majored in Math, Psychology, and Theater, but he eventually came back to his first true passion - music. He's an interesting guy, and in this Composer Quest interview, we talk about everything from composing in odd time signatures to the most common Red Hot Chili Peppers chord progression. He also shares a bunch of practical advice on making your pieces both playable and artistically cohesive.

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Sound Scientist Seth Horowitz on Dolphins, Aliens, and Aural Therapy

Seth Horowitz Composer Quest

After a failed dolphin keyboard experiment, Seth Horowitz decided to change roles from dolphin trainer to biopsychologist, neuroscientist, aural therapist, and author. In this Composer Quest episode, Seth explains how echolocation works, and how he used his knowledge of bats to sound design an alien race for a sci-fi show by the producers of The Walking Dead and Heroes. We also talk about his aural therapy recordings engineered to induce sleep, improve focus, and even relieve pain.

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7 Weird Creativity Warm-ups

What ever happened to this guy?

In my latest podcast episode, I talked with neuroscientist Wilma Koutstaal, who studies creativity. After our in-depth conversation about how to think creatively, we joked about how everyone wants things boiled down to a few easy tips. So here are seven ways to get your creative juices flowing.

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The Psychology of Creativity with Wilma Koutstaal

Wilma Koutstaal Composer Quest Interview

Cognitive neuroscientist Wilma Koutstaal studies and teaches about creativity at the University of Minnesota. In this episode of Composer Quest, she shares words of wisdom with all of us who want to be more creative. We talk about how to to get unstuck from writer's block, how to move between abstract and detailed thinking, and how to avoid procrastination.

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