Contemplating Music: the organization

It's been a long time since my last post, but not for want of activity in the contemplation of music arena! In fact, one reason for the dearth of posts this fall is that I have founded an organization that meets monthly. In addition to a very heavy teaching load, this has taken up the little extra energy I have available.

The organization, called simply Contemplating Music, but with the more verbose subtitle, Greater Boston Center for Contemplative Mind in Music, meets at my home for the present period. We have a number of people of widely varied interests who have attended regularly or seek to find a way to make it to the meetings. A Longy student, a blues pianist, a musicologist, a clarinetist, a cantor, a body-mapping practitioner: all use contemplative methods in their musical work in some manner.

In starting such an organization, I wanted there to be a natural growth which would allow the organization to be what we want it to be. That is happening, I am pleased to say, and the outcome is really unsurprising. What we will do, it seems, is find out what each of us does through presentations at meetings, and encourage each other thereby simply to keep up the work.

A by-product of our sharing is the slow realization that there is a tremendous amount of musical activity supported by and making use of contemplation. When one encounters the work of others, or reads about it, it creates the awareness or affirms the presence of the contemplative mind in our own work. For example, on reading of the work of tubist Karen Bulmer from the conference catalog of the recent national conference of the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education, my wife (Vivian Montgomery) realized that the writing she has been doing that grows from her experience teaching excellent pianists to play the harpsichord in fact is quite in the tradition of mindful writing and teaching. When she then talked about her work at our last meeting, I became aware of just how much good teaching in music springs from a contemplative place. How could it be otherwise, after all?

The upshot for me is that encouraging each other to go forward with and deepen our work is a very valuable act, and that the fledgling organization can play an important role in music and music teaching.

So, I've got a lot more on my mind to share in upcoming posts. Check back in soon.