Marcie Zinn (1951-2019)

Dr. Marcie Zinn passed away on December 28, 2019 at 68.

I first met Marcie in Illinois over 40 years ago when I was on the faculty of the University of Illinois Medical School, and she was an undergraduate. We have been in touch on and off for many years. I was immediately impressed with her intellectual curiosity, disciplined intelligence, and creative imagination. I encouraged her investments in academic scholarship and post graduate study even from our first contact, because I knew she was PhD material. I was delighted to see the acceleration in the trajectory of her personal and scholarly contributions to the music pedagogy with children and adults, and the psychophysiology & neuroscience of music therapy. She absorbed complex multidimensional theoretical constructs effortlessly and could quickly translate them into practical and useful clinical procedures. I was delighted by reports of her clinical efficacy with concert pianists but also with a multitude of pedestrian musicians, who were severely immobilized by crippling clinical symptoms. Her clinical and research skills amplified exponentially as she earned her BS, MS and PhD degrees. Her theoretical and empirical work in music pedagogy and the psychophysiology -neuroscience of music therapy and disability, appears to have expanded and deepened the science foundations of these important & broad domains.

Later in life she developed a personal , clinical, experimental and theoretical interest in the very challenging domains of ME/CFS. Her skills in quantitative EEG, psychophysiology and cognitive neuroscience were quickly recognized by her academic peers, and she became a significant member and consultant on clinical hypotheses , experimental design, data science and statistical methods to two internationally prestigious initiatives on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, first at Stanford University Medical School in California and later at DePaul University in Illinois.

I was proud, in the twilight of my life, to notice that Dr. Marcie Zinn had grown over the 40 or more years I knew her into an incisively analytic but deeply emphatic & creative empirical investigator and also into a nationally recognized educator and clinician. But, I predict that she will be most remembered, in the future for her still not fully recognized but salient theoretical and empirical contributions to elucidating psychosocial risk factors in the clinical science of the psychophysiology of music therapy and disability.

Marcie leaves behind her compassionate, supportive, and loving husband, Mark Zinn, PhD. Mark has made and is making his own unique and original contributions to their lives multidimensional project of elucidating mechanisms in the psychophysiology of music in health and disease. In the words that the philosophical scholar William James Durant penned to his wife, I suspect Marcie may say to Mark.

Grow strong my comrade…that you may stand

Unshaken when I fall; that I may know

The shattered fragments of my song will come

At last to finer melody in you;

That I may tell my heart that you begin

Where passing I leave off, and fathom more.

I will miss seeing Marcie’s disarming smile and hearing her empathic but heuristic commentary on the human predicament. I suspect that Marcie, like Spinoza would want us to see her life and work “sub specie aeternitatis.”

Au revoir Marcie.

Ian Wickramasekera, PhD.