Shared listening creates a sound haven that awakens compassion for ourselves and others.
A number of people have contributed to the developing ideas in this workshop, which brings together streams of influence from musical study, meditation practice, and life. Of the many who have contributed, I want to name a few people and thank them for their contributions.First, the quote that runs along the header of each page here comes from the work of Dr. Claire Garabedian, who has done extensive research with patients suffering profound dementia. She concludes that “shared listening creates a sound haven in which healing can occur”. The workshop aims to invoke that benefit for ordinary listeners through sustained engagement with a single musical example. Thanks to Claire for the quote and for inspiring work.
And it is clear that the many students at the Longy School of Music who have taken classes which use the Sound-Energy Aggregate, especially Topics in Analysis, Contemplating Music, and Form and Analysis, have provided tremendous assistance on the journey leading to realizations of the deep importance or bringing contemplative approaches to the world of musical analysis. I appreciate their input!
Zen practice has been and continues to be of ultimate importance in becoming aware of the connections between seemingly disparate ventures, and the value of continuing to ponder a direction of action even when I don't know where it might lead. For many years I did Zen meditation without a teacher, and the value of having a teacher to answer questions and offer insight to help steady my practice comes through very strongly as a result. So I thank Josh Bartok, of the Greater Boston Zen Center, for providing that help in the last several years.
Going a bit further back, it's hard to image my developing the Sound-Energy Aggregate in the first place if it had not been for George Wilson, one of my mentors at the University of Michigan. It was his initial refusal to back my proposal for a Predoctoral Fellowship in the Packham Graduate School that prompted me to take the bold step of giving my thoughts a name. Upon adding the newly-invented term, I got the fellowship, and many steps later, the ideas have become something I never dreamed of back then.
Still further back, the seeds of the Sound-Energy Aggregate were planted in a course taught by Kenneth Jacobs at the University of Tennessee. It was a course in analyzing modern music, and we were led to analyze each parameter in turn to understand a piece. It's a widely-practiced procedure in modern analysis, but it was Ken who got me to do it. The addition of considering energy contributions to the whole was my innovation.