Quick improvisation: 5 minutes no rules, play what you like: how did that feel? Unsafe? Chaotic? Fun?
Now for some rules: please look after yourself – if you feel uncomfortable at any time, you can drop out of any activity without fear of embarrassment.
please be respectful to others and their contributions.
please maintain confidentiality – what people do and say here stays here.
please switch off phones, or set them to silent.
There will be a ten minute break half way through.
In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.
the movements of the planets are modulated according to harmonic proportions.
Kepler (1619). Harmonice Munde. Originated with Pythagoras
Music creates order out of chaos: for rhythm imposes unanimity upon the divergent, melody imposes continuity upon the disjointed, and harmony imposes compatibility upon the incongruous
Much of the important art, poetry and music of our century [20th] comes from this border where chaos, in the elemental, existential sense of the word, meets the will to order. We all carry echoes of primal chaos in us: these echoes allow us to understand the wonder of art which creates safe havens…. from the chaos which is always threatening to impinge upon us.
Gerald Bennett, Chaos, Self-Similarity, Musical Phrase and Form.
Affect Attunement – Daniel Stern.
Interaction between mother and infant is musical (cf Colwyn Trevarthen and Stephen Malloch).
Mother responds to child matching pitch, volume, duration, timbre, melody and so on. This is not just mirroring, but a way of fostering emotional communication between mother and infant. It lets the infant know that’s its emotional communication is being heard, felt and processed by the mother and given back in a way that gives it meaning. It can perhaps be seen as a way for the infant to regulate the chaotic feelings it has. In fact it has been shown that when this musical communication is lost, perhaps due to post-natal depression or other issues faced by the mother, the child becomes overwhelmed and either screams or shuts off. Music Therapy uses Affect Attunement to develop communication between client and therapist.
Vocal Holding (Diane Austin) is another way this maternal communication is used – volunteer? Moving back and forth between two chords feels like being rocked by a mother. Start in unison, then harmony, can lead to free associative singing, as it did for one of my clients.
Exercises based on use of different musical elements shared as a group: percussion instruments: rhythm, tempo, volume; voice: melody, timbre (breathy, growling, smooth), harmony. Try combining some.
Longer improvisation – 10-15 minutes. Did it feel different to the first one? In what way? What was happening musically? What was happening to the group dynamics? What was happening for you?
Closing ritual – group chords to sing back and forth, clarinet over.