Former BYU professor’s music research may decrease anxiety and stress

Edoardo Geurra, Kenny Baldwin, and Massimiliano Frani on a radio show called Thinking Aloud on BYU Radio
From left: Edoardo Guerra, Kenny Baldwin and Massimiliano Frani were on BYU Radio’s “Thinking Aloud.” Frani is the CEO of Genote, Baldwin is the COO and Guerra is the CSO. (Facebook/Genote)

New classes, new schedules, new jobs and new roommates are just a few of the added stresses the start of a new semester can bring to BYU students. 

The Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors conducted a survey in 2015 that found the predominant concern among college students is anxiety, affecting 47.3 percent of students; this was followed by depression, which affects 40.1 percent of students.

Former BYU professor Massimiliano Frani taught piano performance, pedagogy and harmony. Frani created online music app Genote to alleviate anxiety and other issues associated with sleep, focus and stress management. The app launched on Aug. 15.

The app includes a library of what Frani calls “health music albums,” which have been clinically tested to help listeners of all ages improve mental and physical health.

Dr. Frani working with one of Genote's clinical research team at a hospital.
Frani working with one of Genote’s clinical research team at a hospital. Frani is the founder of Genote. (Genote, LCC)

Frani worked with a team of scientists, musicians, medical practitioners and sound engineers to develop the albums.

Frani’s idea for the music came after he visited an institution where his paraplegic sister was staying. He said he was inspired by the audience’s response when playing a specific part of the song.

“She lives in a community for disabled individuals,” Frani said. “I went there as a guest artist and played a concert and found out that a specific portion of the music was causing a very distinctively different behavior; not just (in) the disabled but the people who were caring for them.”

He was motivated to research how different characteristics and sounds of music can have different effects on people.

“It triggered a personal interest and personal mission,” Frani said. “I knew that a lot of people were talking about how powerful music can be, and nobody was telling me why or what type of music.”

There are many apps such as Music Therapy and Brainwave Tuner that provide music to help with anxiety and sleeplessness. However, Frani said he believes Genote is unlike other platforms.

The platform can “target areas of your well being so that your health can be restored and you can get back to what you find most fulfilling and important,” according to the Genote website.

A picture of a special speaker that Genote uses in a study with premature infants.
The Genote is a special speaker loaded with music protocols. It was used in a study with premature infants. (Facebook/Genote)

“We have dissected the music so that they are able to know every nuance and every aspect and every characteristic. We put it together with its effect both in the mind and the body,” Frani said. “We can actually create something with therapeutic value and therapeutic efficacy that is much stronger than anything out there.”

BYU alumnus and Genote Chief Operating Officer Kenny Baldwin said Genote is unique because of its clinical approach to music.

“We are the only company that produces music not for enjoyment as our primary objective,” Baldwin said. “We hope that people enjoy the music. Even if people get bored of the music they are listening to, the music’s effect on a certain health objective will not wear off.”

Frani explained people can take advantage of Genote as a therapeutic tool to improve their minds and bodies.

“I think that there are countless studies that show how specific music triggers our cognitive functions,” Frani said. “Also there is nothing like great music that is clinically tested and beautiful enough that will help you learn and grow.”

BYU alumnus Bryson Frehner has struggled with sleeplessness, but said he noticed a drastic change after using Genote.

“It’s just really peaceful and relaxing music, but it does something to your mind, and it just drifts it away,” Frehner said.

He said he would’ve taken advantage of this platform if it had been available when he was a student.

“I do not work well with sleep deprivation,” Frehner said. “If Genote was around when I was a student, who knows how much better I would have done in my classes? It helps your body, mind and spirit.”

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