July 21, 2022 at 4:00:00 PM
Cabrillo Hall Room 104
Building an Amazing Network of Artistic, Pedagogical and Expressive Connections!
Upgrading from Dial-Up to Broadband: Building an Amazing Network of Artistic, Pedagogical, and Expressive Connections!
I’ve consistently observed that all great teacher-conductors share three things: 1) they are superb musicians, possessing a comprehensive knowledge of the music at hand; 2) they have the ability to clearly communicate that knowledge; and 3) they are confidently authentic. Such traits are, of course, a consequence of many factors, including thousands of hours of deliberate practice and at least a modicum of experience. Interestingly, studies of experts in many fields tell us that the end-product of much hard work and experience are only as good as the quality of the processes involved during the work and the degree of learning that comes about as a result of experience.
Over the past four decades, my curiosity about these matters first drove me to immerse myself in the study of emotional contagion, then, to engage in an enormous amount of reading in neuroscience, and, finally, led to my participation in numerous formal and informal research projects, including investigations into the biochemistry of the music-making process and the oft-hidden and involuntary systems of human communication. The accumulation of what I’ve learned through these “hobbies,” along with many extraordinary understandings garnered from training and handling dogs, has led to insights about our art that I never imagined in the mid-1980s, when visits with two important mentors – Elizabeth Green and Fred Fennell – provoked my journey. Today’s discussion is a stop on a voyage that is far from over!
According to Techopedia, “Broadband is a high-data-rate connection to the Internet. The technology gets its name as a result of the wide band of frequencies that is available for information transmission. Information can be multiplexed and sent on numerous channels, allowing more information to be transmitted at a given time.” To put that “high-data-rate” into numbers, a typical Dial-Up connection transmits data at a rate of 56K bits-per-second, while some current broadband networks move that rate up to 100,000Mbps (i.e., 100 billion!). As remarkable as that seems, it is estimated that our brains comprise anywhere from 100 trillion to 1,000 trillion synaptic connections!!
Of significance to us – people concerned with 1) digesting copious quantities of musical sounds and ideas, 2) devising the pedagogical concepts associated with bringing those sounds and ideas to life, and 3) cultivating the ability to clearly express those myriad understandings – the recent explosion of brain research has much to teach us about how to better facilitate the array of responsibilities comprising collaborative music making. The new field of connectomics has demonstrated that, while our brain’s two hemispheres and numerous regions independently oversee a number of specific tasks, most endeavors, particularly complex behaviors and actions, result from the development and employment of widely distributed synaptic networks, structurally and/or functionally connected via one or more of our brain’s hubs, to achieve task-specific fluency. Simply put, neurons that fire together wire together, gradually building explicit networks, devoted to whatever functions an individual deliberately pursues.
During this session, we will explore a method of score preparation that exploits our brain’s innate capacity for building multifaceted networks. These “broadband” networks can ensure that our musical, sensory, and bodily systems function together, allowing us to communicate and listen at a far deeper level than is the case when we prepare in a traditional, segregated manner.