Successful Scholar Credits CEW With Influence

Julie Jaffee Nagel, a former CEW Scholar, has just published a book entitled Melodies of the Mind: Connections between Psychoanalysis and Music. Julie epitomizes the commitment, creativity and talent of all our scholars.

A classical pianist, Julie began her career with undergraduate and graduate degrees from The Juilliard School. "From childhood, I dreamed of being a classical performer," she explains, "but my life has taken me in other, amazing directions." 

With her husband, U-M music professor Louis Nagel, Julie moved to Ann Arbor in 1969. She taught in the Ann Arbor Public Schools for two years before having a daughter and becoming a private music instructor. Along with Louis, she also performed in concerts, including at Interlochen Music Camp, where they both taught piano for 13 summers. 

At some point, however, Julie decided she wanted to do more. But what?

"I had long been fascinated by psychology, especially related to performance anxiety, since I've always suffered from stage fright to some degree," Julie explains. "But I didn't know if and how I could make the switch from music to the social sciences." And that's when CEW came into her life.

"I walked into the Center and met Jean Campbell and Myra Fabian. I cannot adequately express how much they influenced me. They listened. They believed in me, helped me figure out what was right for me, and encouraged me to follow my dream. When I won a CEW scholarship in 1981, the financial assistance was great - but the vote of confidence for my ambitions was even more meaningful."

Julie eventually earned an MSW, an MA in psychology, and a Ph.D. in psychology and social work from the University of Michigan. She then became a psychoanalyst, studying for four years at the Michigan Psychoanalytic Institute. Today, Julie has her own practice. At her office near the U-M campus, she does assessment and evaluation as well as short- and long-term therapy. Julie also gives presentations on stage fright, music and emotion, and career choice to teachers, students, and various other groups locally, nationally, and internationally.

According to Julie, Melodies of the Mind is, in a sense, autobiographical, since it synthesizes her love for music and psychoanalysis. "There are amazing similarities between the two. Music and psychoanalytic theories and ideas both convey a language, one expressed aurally and the other verbally. Both adhere to specific rules of style, grammar and form as well as literal (manifest) and abstract (concealed) meanings."

Melodies discusses these similarities. It celebrates the power of music to touch our emotions, especially when words fall short, and to help us reach a deeper understanding of ourselves. Julie uses the music itself as her data, presenting in-dept analyses of Bernstein's West Side Story and Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf, among other works, to point out the ways that music and psychoanalytic concepts enrich each other. 

CEW is delighted to have played a role in Julie Jaffee Nagel's amazing life journey. We congratulate her on her new book and encourage you to read more about her work. Copies of Melodies of the Mind are available on amazon.com (Kindle, paperback and hardback), at Routledge Press, and at Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor. 

Click HERE for more information on the CEW Scholarship Program.


Calling all former CEW scholars

Do you also have recent work that you want to share with CEW and other scholars? If you have recently published a book, or are working on an exhibition or performance you think would be of interest to other Scholars and the larger CEW community, please contact us! We may be able to feature some of your stories in future CEW newsletters.

Please e-mail a description of the work to Kristina Bee, Scholarship and Development Assistant: kbee@umich.edu.

Connect with other scholars through LinkedIn

Another easy way to share is through the CEW Scholars LinkedIn group. To join:

  1. Log in to your LinkedIn account.
  2. Switch the search option to "Groups" and search for "University of Michigan CEW Scholars".
  3. Click the "Join Group" button.
  4. Once you are approved, you can start discussions with the group and share what you are doing!

Please note: This LinkedIn group is only for former scholars: once we have confirmed that you received a scholarship you will be approved. 

We look forward to hearing from you!