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Natalie M

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at Princeton University


Music Theory; Music Cognition; Music Psychology; Linguistics; Media Studies


Hello! My name is Natalie, and I am interested in music theory and cognition. I use techniques such as musical analysis to question how we perceive music and why we like it. My dissertation focuses on music's role in facilitating immersion in multimedia -- asking how music can induce a state of attention where you lose sight of the world around you and focus all of your energy on the experience at hand. To do this work, I use musical analysis and behavioral psychology experiments to better understand the role such music plays in shaping our perception. I love to question how music shapes our daily lives in ways we may never expect. In my free time, I love to explore new areas with my dog Kida, crochet for friends and charity, and attempt to find the best chocolate chip cookie recipe. I'm also learning to love the cold now that I live in the northeast, as I'm originally from central Texas. As the first in my immediate family to pursue a PhD, I have learned so much from my peers, mentors, and lived experiences that I look forward to sharing with you!

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Music Theory Analysis Project

If you're interested in learning about the in's and out's of music, a project on music theory is the way to go! In an introductory project to music theory, we would spend the first few sessions introducing key concepts and work toward a goal of analyzing a favorite song or creating your own short compositions.

Music Psychology and Cognition Research Paper

How does the human brain process music? Why do so many cultures feature music so predominantly? How does music engage our perception and what does it do to us? If you're interested in the intersection of music and perception, a research project on the topic of music cognition or music psychology would speak to these fascinations. In such a project, we would work together to narrow down on a particular music topic or question (ex. What is perfect pitch? What kinds of methods do music psychologists use? How does the brain handle rhythm?) and work to create a research paper or creative project around this line of inquiry.

Coding skills

R, basic Python

Languages I know


Teaching experience

I have led twice weekly discussion group style classes for undergraduate music theory students at Princeton University, implementing various teaching techniques to promote active learning and learning through the creation of musical exercises.



University of Texas Austin (UT Austin)
BA Bachelor of Arts (2019)
Music; Linguistics
Princeton University
MA Master of Arts (2021)
Princeton University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate

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