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welcome to Heart Beats

welcome to Heart Beats

Friday, 11 March 2016

Close your eyes ... and open your ears

We're continuing with our exploration of the sensory aspects of improvised music.

Yesterday, our group experimented with playing whilst having their eyes shut.

Alex asked us to 'pass a clap' around the group - first with eyes open, and then eyes shut.
The difference was striking! It took us about 3 goes before we began to recognise the unqiue sound of the person next to us and find our place in the sequence.

Later, Jane asked the group to improvise a piece quietly, eyes closed, with no prompts other than a significant sound for 'start' and 'stop'. People were told they could contribute as much or as little to the piece as much as they liked.
Together we created music that had a distinctive atmosphere, shape and sound. It felt complex but respectful.

In feedback, a lot of people said these things were their favourite part of the session.
Geoff said 'our two ears are connected to our brain.'
Without visual input, our sense of listening became much more important.
There is some research that states our brains divert activity away from our visual centres during listening tasks.

In our sessions, especially when there are so many people, we tend to use physical conducting  gestures to sculpt the music -  so this was different.
It is also a way of exploring what it is like to be part of the group for the group member who is visually impaired.
From a music leaders' point of view - it removed the need for active music leading. Perhaps this was possible, and successful, because we've all played together so much already?

As a group activity, it showed us how connected we are to each other, and how we can  feel more relaxed without the need to process visual information.
You might think you become less aware of others if you can't see them : what we felt was that we could listen more clearly, and because of this, become more aware of others.

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