Musicians’ understanding of non-verbal communication

“One of the most interesting characteristics of musicians is their need to precisely anticipate not only what is going to happen, but when.

As a reader anticipates the words whilst reading, so a musician anticipates another musician to play together.

Think for example of a string quartet. When the first violin “gives the signal” to begin, the the rest of the group will have a small natural delay of around 10 milliseconds. Moreover, during the performance, their synchronisation improves.

This ability of anticipation and coordination is absolutely extraordinary, even more so if we consider that it’s not just about playing a note together, but also playing it appropriately, with the right expression which is also dependent on the changing context.”*

How does this happen?

Our auditory system is able to synchronise with the temporal structure of the music stimulus, due to its rhythm and regularity.

Not only this but also other areas of our brain synchronise with the music, especially our motor system.

A musician, learning to play with another literally learns how to “read” other musicians during a performance, recognising their littlest movements, their way of breathing and feeling the sounds of the music.

“It is important to remember that, despite someones age, the practice of music seems to facilitate:

1. the creation of a coherent relationships between the external world and brain activity

2. the communication between the different regions of the brain.

The consequence of the first aspect is to allow a more precise interpretation of the outside world, in particular, the world of sound.

The consequence of the second aspect is more far-reaching, considering that cognition, in general, seems to depend on the good communication skills of different brain regions, like a successful organistaion benefits from good communication throughout its workforce.

Beyond our current knowledge, a combination of these two aspects could be that the practice of music facilitates a common vision of the world around us, through a better synchronization of the brain activities of different individuals, and a better sharing of reality.”*

*D. Schön, “Il cervello musicale. Il mistero svelato di Orfeo”, Il Mulino 2018

SEN family supported by Arsenal Foundation

If you live around the Arsenal Stadium in and your child has specials needs you don’t want to miss this opportunity! Music therapy should soon as well!

Few spaces left on the next PEPTalk group sessions running in January-February. They are lead by a therapist called Louisa who is an advanced sensory integration therapist and Occupational Therapist.

The sessions will focus on sensory integration and be held in the specialist sensory room at The Arsenal Stadium in Islington. The sessions will provide you with practical advice and activities to support the development of your child’s sensory integration which can impact upon the development of a range of different skills including attention, communication, social interactions and daily living skills.

The 5 session block costs £50. For children new to the group sessions, an initial online consultation fee will apply. There will be no fee for children who have already engaged in PEPTalk sessions.

For children living in Islington, Camden and Hackney the initial consultation is paid for by the Arsenal Foundation.

Please contact highburyparkmusic@gmail.com if you are interested in finding out the dates and times of the sessions.

A new paper from Music and Cognition

Our new paper is out today, investigating the impact of a musical intervention on preschool children’s executive function!

Frontiers in Psychology is the largest journal in its field, publishing rigorously peer-reviewed research across the psychological sciences, from clinical research to cognitive science, from perception to consciousness, from imaging studies to human factors, and from animal cognition to social psychology.

Thanks to Creative Futures and my colleagues Alice Bowmer and Katie Mason for this first step together!

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02389/full

Music and Executive Function

Our paper regarding the impact of music on the development of the executive functions in children 3-4 yo is getting ready! This is the next step after the research we run last year with Creative Futures and the University College London. Describing the activities and highlighting the process that brought us to significant changes is such a long process… but we love it! #musiceducationnerd 😂
We will then publish the activities and the musical examples of our research! Stay in touch!