An FSU faculty member since 1976, Standley is recognized throughout the United States as the foremost authority on medical music therapy.
2005-06 Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor of Music
Jayne M. Standley, a longtime researcher and professor in Florida State University School of Music, is the 2005-2006 Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor, the Florida State University's highest faculty honor.
Her pioneering work in the field of medical music therapy has led to new techniques for treating premature babies.
An FSU faculty member since 1976, Standley is recognized throughout the United States as the foremost authority on medical music therapy. Researching the effect of music on premature babies, or "preemies," she found that they increased their suckling rates 2.5 times when exposed to music, thus helping to increase their weight. (Preemies often experience delayed proficiencies in learning to nurse from either breast or bottle.)
Her research led Standley to develop a musical pacifier device that has received a U.S. patent and been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Standley's work with preemies also led to the establishment of most of the musical protocols used in hospital neonatal units today.
Standley has said, "The opportunity over the last 10 years to explore my research with premature infants and medical music therapy has been exciting and deeply satisfying." She added, "I owe a great debt of gratitude to the innovative FSU partnership with Tallahassee Memorial Hospital (TMH) and to its outstanding medical staff."
Aimed specifically at addressing a long-standing problem among premature infants—delayed proficiencies in learning to suck from either breast or bottle—Standley's musical pacifier has demonstrated what she calls "amazing" results in repeated tests done at TMH. The device delivers music reinforcement each time a premature infant sucks a specially wired pacifier. Infants thus learn to suck along with reassuring sounds of CD-based lullabies (all recorded by female performers) while worried mothers and care-givers get pacified at the same time.
"Under Jayne's leadership, the music therapy program at FSU has become one of the top three programs in the country, attracting students from all over the world, and one that has become highly respected in the medical as well as music communities," said School of Music Dean, Jon Piersol.
In addition to her research activities, Standley has directed and mentored nearly 200 graduate students in their research efforts. For more than 25 years, students from FSU have presented original research at the American Music Therapy Association's annual conference. Because of her participation and that of her students and former students, FSU has had a greater presence in the music therapy research community than any other university in the country.
Standley's longstanding commitment to FSU is demonstrated by the fact that she has served for many years on the Faculty Senate, and was chairwoman of the Graduate Policy Committee for nearly two decades.
The Robert O. Lawton Distinguished Professor award is named in honor of the late Vice President for Academic Affairs Robert O. Lawton. A longtime and highly esteemed member of the FSU faculty, he died in 1980.