The Neuroscience of Well-Being, Mindfulness, & Love (and conducting) 2

One of the important things that got repeated at this seminar I attended in November was the definition of mind: an embodied and relational self-organizing, emergent process that regulates energy and  information flow within you and between you.

The mind is a process.  It’s a process that includes your body (embodied) and its interactions with the world around you (relational).  It’s a process that, mathematically speaking, emerges from all those numerous parts.

Your mind is not in your head, but your head is part of the process.

Why does a definition of mind matter to a conductor?  Good question!

The physical and mental demands on conductors are unique. The movements of our bodies are the most obvious (observable) part of our work to outsiders, but conductors know the artistic and leadership components are even more important.  If we approach conducting from the inside out, I think the result will be more expressive of what we want it to express.  If we’re aware that all that analysis, interpretation, and evaluation of score or ensemble are just as much a part of the process that is our minds as our physical gesture is, then it will be entirely natural to see the result as part of a unified whole.

As I say in the Emergence post, linked above, the conductor is not the leader.  The music and the ensemble and the preparation are all part of a process that goes on in your head,  in your hands, in the room where the music is being made, and in the world and place in history where the people are making it.

The definition of mind exposes how intention becomes movement, how thought becomes gesture, and how music is communicated through the embodied self.  It exposes what conducting actually is.

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