Nature Music London Limited Overview

Like the brain of any animal, the human brain grows to represent and regulate a body form in movement . And from even before birth, the self-formation of a personal self in the brain of the fetus is led by manifestations of movement. “Human languages are coaxed into the brain, initially by the melodic intonations of motherese by which emotional communication becomes the vehicle for propositional thought.” (Panksepp et al., 2012, p. 11). The prosody of the client’s voice sometimes sums-up the therapeutic change itself. In the example below of Stephen’s work a client is talking of an emerging ‘new me’ in contrast to an ‘old me.’2 The ‘old me’ was marked with ‘a lack of self-respect.’ ‘I blame myself when things go wrong, I believe I’m not working hard enough.’ The voice is drone-like, body hardly moving.

Humans have probably seen themselves as part of the harmony of the natural world for 100,000’s of years if any of the survival tribal wisdom is anything to go by. Aboriginal australian tribes will go as far as to say that humans sing the world into existence as they walk along the ancient song lines that criss cross the land connecting places and spaces. Damon Jackson-Waldock is Programme Director at The Art House with over 10 years’ experience of delivering contemporary arts projects, exhibitions, open-air commissions and public programming.

A comparable inhibitory effect of conventions of schooling has been recorded on the spontaneous expression of religious feelings and spirituality in the early years . These innate sources of human imagining in collaborative, moral ways give value and meaning to the later cultivation of advanced cultural ideas and skills (Valiente et al., 2012). Although blind, Maria knows the feelings of anticipated movement of her hand, and uses them to sense and share the human vitality dynamics in her mother’s voice. This kinematic sensibility was identified by Olga Maratos in her pioneering research in imitation as foundational for the ability of a young infant to reproduce another person’s expression seen or heard . Indeed, vocal perception, detecting the modulation of pitch and timing in an adult’s voice sounds, develops much faster than vocal production. The infant may be tracking sound with reference to the kinesics of the fastest and most complex gestural movements of her hands.

“For an infant to enter into the sharing of meaning he has to be in communication, which may be another way of saying sharing rhythm…. The problem is how two or more organisms can share innate biological rhythms in such a way as to achieve communication which can permit transmission of information they do not already share.” (Bullowa, 1979, p. 15, italics added). This beautiful piece from hisSuite Bergamasque is Debussy’s musical description of moonlight. The French impressionist composer was a master of pianistic colour, gentle melody and subtlety.

How the child’s spontaneous musicality, as it grows in group practice without formal training , is received by the surrounding educational culture, is a vital ingredient in the child’s emerging ‘musical identity.’ Musical identity and self-efficacy or mastery of skill in music making inform each other, in reciprocal relationship. A child who sees themselves as a competent musician may attempt to learn a difficult piece of music, and their success at performing this piece will further bolster their sense of competence. And the way a child is welcomed into their musical culture is of vital importance as to whether this child thrives playfully with the musical tools at her disposal, developing her skill in the use of these tools, or shrinks away in disinterest because her own intrinsic musicality is not being heard or valued. For example, the InCanto project is a wonderful example of infants’ and parents’ being encouraged to have their expression of music cultivated in such a way that the infant grows into a child who shows greater ability to sing in tune, a greater range of musical expression, and overall more enthusiasm for music participation.

In such a situation, there seems to be an actual binding of nervous systems, the unification of an audience by a veritable ‘neurogamy’ (Sacks, 2006, p. 2528). After the baby is born and seeks intimate communication of all motives with a parent, the affective system remains as the director of learning and appreciation of what is gained by new awareness. “The first generalized movements occur in week 8 (de Vries et al., 1984), but already in week 5 monoamine transmission pathways grow from the brainstem to animate the primordial cerebral hemispheres.