Workshop: The Embodied Musician: Creating the Foundation for Interpretation and Movement

Workshop: The Embodied Musician: Creating the Foundation for Interpretation and Movement, Anita King

This session is based on the following premise: In performance, one’s movement must be as nuanced and complex as the music. Dr. Anita King explores how the music itself is the catalyst for musicians’ coordination by examining the parallel organization of musical structure and coordinate movement. She explains how music organizes in a layered way; the many details of the melodic/rhythmic “surface” of the music are organized and shaped by the deeper, slower-moving elements revealed by the harmony and phrase structure. The musical “text” can be “translated” into movement which also organizes in a hierarchical manner. The slower-moving parts of our bodies (our legs and torso) organize and support the faster movements of arms, hands, and fingers.

A music teacher’s job is thus two-fold. Teachers must simultaneously give students tools to understand the structure of the music they perform as well as information about the organization of their bodies. Music study reveals how relationships on multiple levels create a piece of music that is an organic whole. In an analogous way, when human movement is truly coordinate, the individual parts of us also work together in constant relation to the whole.

This integrated approach to performance pedagogy represents the culmination of King’s work over two decades as a performing artist and university teacher of advanced music analysis and performance courses. Since 1997 she has engaged in research and training in human movement as it relates to performance, becoming a certified teacher of Body Mapping and the Alexander Technique.

The workshop is highly interactive and combines lecture-demonstration, performance of illustrative excerpts at the piano, and short movement activities and explorations with the participants. The workshop introduces Body Mapping, anatomical information relevant to musicians’ coordinate movement.

Workshop: Interacting with the Music Paint Machine

Workshop: Interacting with the Music Paint Machine

In this workshop, participants are invited to interact with the Music Paint Machine, a music educational technology that allows musicians to make a digital painting by playing music while making various movements.

The system has a solid theoretical and pedagogical background (explained during the presentation in the panel “Embodiment in Arts Education”) and aims at stimulating and supporting the development of an optimal relationship between musician and musical instrument in function of musical creativity.

Throughout the workshop, different modes of use will be demonstrated and tried out to illustrate and experience first hand how the system addresses different levels of embodiment.

Please, bring your instrument!

Workshop: Thinking with the Dancing Brain: Embodying Neuroscience

Workshop: Thinking with the Dancing Brain: Embodying Neuroscience, Rima Faber and Sandra Minton

Neurological exploration of the brain is a current internal research frontier. Rima Faber and Sandra Minton co-authored a recently published book, Thinking with the Dancing Brain: Embodying Neuroscience. Each chapter in the book addresses thought processes in dance by: describing the processes, explaining the brain networks involved, providing connections to academic classroom pedagogy, applying the information to movement and dance, and guiding the reader through movement explorations and improvisations pertinent to each process. The proposed workshop would follow this format from prime selected portions of the book. 

This experiential workshop highlights discoveries about and the embodiment of thought process used in dance in relation to brain function. It links the dancing brain to practice, pedagogy, 21st Century Skills, and provide movement explorations in applications to learning dance. The practical nature of this presentation provides explorations teachers can use to develop thinking skills in their students.

The presentation benefits the field of dance and education by showing that the brain functions discovered through neuroscience research are closely aligned with dance education practices. The connection between dance and neuroscience provides a fresh look at common dance curricula. It places dance education on a level playing field with the other arts and academic areas that are normally included in schools across America. Dance exercises the brain, meets the National Core Arts Standards for Dance, and teaches 21st Century Skills. All of these connections provide advocacy tools for dance educators and for the inclusion of dance in schools. 

Little research has been pursued based on the neurology of the artistic processes of dance (creating, performing, responding, and connecting), but a great amount has been learned about how the brain is wired and functions in relation to many thought processes. The workshop and book present a practical approach that focusses on the embodiment of neuroscience discoveries applied to the thought processes used in dance. Learning dance necessitates using mental abilities in observation, analysis, pattern recognition, memory, and transference/transformation of ideas and knowledge while choreographing relies on imagination, pattern formation and problem solving as well as generating emotional content. The neurology for these thought processes are embodied in movement.

Workshop: If the Body Is Part of Our Discourse, Why Not Let It Speak?

Workshop: If the Body Is Part of Our Discourse, Why Not Let It Speak?, Maxine Sheets-Johnstone.

Moving together in addition to talking together: what could be more natural? Don’t we anyway need dynamic happenings to carry us forward, to sweep us off our seats into the afterlife of postmodernism, critical theory, the year of the brain, and other kinetically immobilizing academic movements? Moving together puts us at the brink of largely unexplored territory, plunges us into the largely unknown domain of kinesthesia, the felt dynamics of a moving body. When we improvise together in movement, we find that, precisely because movement is our mother tongue, we do not need a teacher or a class situation; neither do we need to fear being put on the spot since, moving together, there is no spot on which anyone can be put. Because movement comes with life, we have the capacity to improvise in multiple ways: sounds come from a piano; lines come from a crayon. In fact, we improvise all the time in words: we enter into conversations daily without planning what we’ll say. The movement workshop will provide a communal experiential point of departure for discussions about our mother tongue, a tongue we as adults ordinarily tend to tie up. It will draw on wholly natural kinetic dimensions of our humanness and basic facets of our interpersonal lives that are anchored in elemental aspects of movement and human sociality.

You will be most comfortable if you wear non-binding clothes and have no reservations about removing your shoes.