just singing in the brain

In the previous post, I said my only regret about missing Wednesday at ACDA was missing Weston Noble’s session.  Turns out his co-presenter, Geoffrey Boers, did a big ol’ thing about mirror neurons:

This session will focus on the evolutionary nature of conducting pattern and gesture, and will consider changes to techniqueand process based upon recent research in brain science, particularly our understanding of mirror neurons. Mirror neurons are an important and relatively undeveloped part of the brain that leads to empathy, expressiveness, and connectedness. Singing is a process that can unlock, fire, and develop these neurons leading to momentary transcendent experiences. Session leaders Geoffrey Boers and Weston Noble will explore gestures and rehearsal style that will encourage this type of brain action to become a consistent experience in rehearsal and performance, so that transcendent experience becomes a part ofour technique, and ultimately, transformational for the choir.

So, *I* could have presented that session.  In fact, my session *was* that session.  I’ve e-mailed Dr. Boers to see if I can get a copy of their handout or a bibliography, so I can see what their perspective was and if there’s more recent research that I haven’t followed.  I’ll be sure and post copiously once I find out.

In Dr. Boers’ bio, it says:

Geoffrey is also exploring the idea spirare, or the connection between breath and spirit, in disciplines as far reaching as Yoga , Tai Chi and world faith systems. This study is leading to evolving thoughts of gesture as it relates to breath, evocation of sound, and touching the heart.

So I’d love to hear what he has to say about the research I’m doing!  I only got to speak to him for two seconds, overhearing him speaking with Dr. Jordan I joked, “did you at least cite my article in your presentation?!” which didn’t exactly make him laugh out loud, but that’s probably because I was a random stranger snarking him as soon as I looked at him.  (Sorry about that; I sometimes get carried away.)

Personally, I think the connection to breath is just a starting point, a surface symptom of something much larger and deeper.  Even Dr. Jordan’s session and book (again, sorry!) just skim over the top of the real issue, which is the singularity of the mindbody and removing the personality out from the middle of thought and gesture.

I’ll be going into detail about that tomorrow.  But I just had to get this out tonight, upon my return home.  Because it’s been bugging me.  The one session I really regretting missing turns out to be directly addressing the major topic I care most about.  Bah!

Coming up: by popular request, I will actually explain what I think Tai Chi and conducting have in common, and why Tai Chi matters.

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