Master's student creates music from study material

27-08-2019

MAASTRICHT. “Hello! Psychology?” “Yes” “Wonderful” All new Psychology students are greeted with the same enthusiasm when they arrive at the Universiteitssingel 40 for the faculty introduction on Monday morning. The opening lecture won't start until 9:15 hrs, but at 8:00 hrs the first students are already at the door. Dropped off by mum and dad, loaded down with large overnight bags, or arriving alone by bicycle, searching, looking around.

Something extraordinary is about to happen for them soon. During the lecture, singer-songwriter Teun Smeets will make an appearance on stage. The master's student of Forensics, Criminology and Law responded to an appeal in the FPN newsletter for students with musical talent. “I submitted a sample and they liked it.” What makes his songs so eminently suitable for an introduction day? Smeets gets his inspiration from his study programme.

“It started when I was doing my bachelor's of Psychology. I actually only wanted to play music and my study got pushed into the background. I thought: How am I going to tackle this?” Smeets decided to put the study material to music. “I can recommend everyone to develop their own method of studying. It was fun to do and my grades also went up. You don't necessarily need to be musical. If you think about what needs to be in the song, you will get to the core of the subject matter. Putting the text to music and getting the rhythm exactly right is what I do for fun.”

It led to songs such as Brain Song, which he will sing during the opening lecture for the bachelor's students. Do we have free will? / Or are we all insane? / Or is it all decided by our brain? The students think it is terrific. Smeets gets the longest applause of all. With his second song, EEG, some even start to sing along with the refrain. How to interpret the EEG / The inverse problem is bothering me / How to interpret the EEG / But the temporal resolution it sounds so good to me.

Smeets also writes regular music. “My style is somewhere between Michael Prins and Damien Rice. I usually accompany myself on the piano, sometimes on an acoustic guitar. This is what I like to do most of all. I find research interesting, but I wouldn't want to be just a researcher.”

Anyone who wishes to hear him (again), should come to the PAS festival on Friday, 6 September. Teun Smeets will perform there during the TMFI lecture.

Master's student creates music from study material
Teun Smeets behind the piano