Science for Music Performance

Current Position

Researcher and Project Manager, Sony Computer Science Laboratories (SONY CSL), Tokyo, Japan

Research Associate Professor, Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan (lab website)

Guest Professor, Institute for Music Physiology and Musicians' Medicine, Hannover University of Music and Drama, Hannover, Germany

Research Goal

My research goal is to elucidate mechanisms underlying acquisition and loss of highly-skilled motor behaviors (i.e. virtuosity) in musicians. Through extensive practice, musicians can perform exceptionally fast, dexterous, and accurate movements; however, sometimes they develop movement disorders, such as tendonitis, tremor, and focal dystonia.

I study both extremes of sensorimotor skills using a variety of research techniques, such as motion capture (data glove, high-speed cameras), electromyography (EMG), non-invasive brain stimulation (tDCS, TMS), and neuroimaging (fMRI, EEG), together with data-science techniques (computational model, multivariate analysis, machine learning) and robotics techniques (rigid-body linked model). My favorite research approach is "reverse engineering", which tries to elucidate neural and biomechanical principles governing skilled and disordered movements through probing sensorimotor behaviors by these measurement and analytical techniques.

I myself also pursue to create a world where everyone can realize desired musical expression in musical performance without suffering from any physical problems and injuries; because I'm a pianist. Therefore I'm also strongly interested in developing optimal motor practicing and rehabilitation program for musicians.

Publication Details


2019 Susanne Klein-Vogelbach-Prize for the Research of Human Movement

2016 Leading Initiative for Excellent Young Researchers (LEADER), Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), Japan

2014 Heisenberg Fellowship, German Research Foundation (DFG), Germany

2012 Oversea Research Fellowship, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), Japan

2011 Research Fellowship for Postdoctoral Researchers, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Germany

2010 Research Fellowship for Young Scientists, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), Japan

2009 Scholarship Winner, Society for Neural Control of Movement (NCM)

2007 Top-seven finalists of Young Investigator Award, International Society of Biomechanics (ISB)


2018-current Researcher, Sony Computer Science Laboratories Inc. Tokyo, Japan

2017-2018 Associate Researcher, Sony Computer Science Laboratories Inc. Tokyo, Japan

2014-2017 Associate Professor, Faculty of Science and Technology, Sophia University, Tokyo, Japan

2011-2014 Post-doctoral Fellow, Institute for Music Physiology and Musicians' Medicine, Hannover University of Music and Drama, Germany

2009-2011 Post-doctoral Associate, Department of Neuroscience, University of Minnesota, USA

2008-2009 Post-doctoral Associate, Research Center for Human Media, Graduate School of Science and Technology, Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan

Educational Background

2008: PhD in Medical Sciences, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka University

"The effect of long-term training on control strategies of the multi-joint arm movement in piano keystroke"

2004: Master of Human Science, Graduate School of Human Science, Osaka University

"A biomechanical analysis of upper extremity movement during repetitive striking of octave keys by expert pianists"

2002: Bachelor of Engineering, School of Engineering Science, Osaka University

"Chaos prediction in discrete and continuous dynamic systems"

1980: Born in Nishinomiya, Hyogo, Japan

Subjects of Research Details


Motion-capture (2D & 3D high-speed cameras, data-glove), Electrophysiology (EMG, EEG), Robotics (inverse and forward dynamics computations), Transcranial Stimulation (tDCS, TMS), Control and measurement of instruments (haptic device, altered auditory feedback), Programming (MATLAB, R, LabVIEW, Python), Statistics and Machine Learning (basic statistics, multivariant analysis, feature extraction, cluster analysis, Monte Carlo computation)

Teaching Experience

When I was a student in Japan, I had been teaching several classes at universities and colleges, which include Motor Control, Biomechanics, Basic Anatomy and Physiology, and Health Science. In 2009, I was awarded as one of the most prominent lecturers at Osaka University. In Germany, I taught sensory-motor control and learning at a class called "Neuroscience of Music" at Hannover University of Music, Drama and Media for various students who study music, neuroscience, and medicine. In addition, I have given a lot of invited lectures at universities, music conservatories, and research institutes in Japan, USA, UK, Switzerland, Netherlands, and Germany. At Sophia University, I was teaching electric circuit, neural network, statistics and machine learning, control theory, computer architecture, and brain plasticity. In 2017, I was awarded as one of the most prominent lecturers at Sophia University.

Academic Contribution

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Shinichi Furuya