Thursday, January 20, 2011

music research data base...

I know that some of my readers are interested in research showing the linkage between the brain and the hands and one specific area of research that holds promise is neurological research on music. About the only musical instrument that is not played by hand is the human voice, so it can be reasonably suggested that any research concerning performance may offer insight. If any of my readers want to dig in, you can find a database of neurological music research at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, created by a former doctoral student, Richard Edwards.

Dig in, and let Me know what YOU find.

EDWARDS, RICHARD D., The Neurosciences and Music Education: An Online Database of Brain Imaging Neuromusical Research (2008). Directed by Dr. Donald A. Hodges. 162 pp. Music Bird. You will be able to log on to the site as "guest" and no password is required.

It may not be a jackpot yet, but may help us to move WOH in the right direction. My thanks to John Deal for helping me make the connection.

There is no distinct line between tools and instruments. In fact you can play music on a saw, or just engage in its rhythm as you cut wood. I have hopes that some of this will help us to offer greater evidence as to why children need to be creative in schooling and why they need to be deeply engaged and expressive through their hands.

I am reminded of an experience in my wood shop about 30 years ago. Even the voice can become connected to creative woodworking through tool use. I was working on a large project and hired a friend to help. He was a musician and had a great deal of experience and training in voice performance. As he was sanding with a random orbit sander, I heard exquisite harmonies coming from the room where he was at work. I stopped in and listened as he sang in perfect pitch in perfect harmony and rhythm to the sounds and modulations of the sander. On that occasion, we renamed the Porter Cable Speed Block sander "Roy Orbitalsand," and so it was called until its dying day. Musical intelligence is not all that far from what we do in the woodshop. Make, fix, create. My cherry jelly cabinet is nearly complete as you can see in the photo above.If you want to know more about the relationship between musical intelligence and wood shop, I have written about it before in the blog. Type in key words, like music or rhythm.

In the meantime, it is pleasant to read things about craft and creativity that are intelligently written and that help to illuminate the rewards of craftsmanship. Gillian Montegrande in the UK sent me a copy of her treatise, I Make, Therefore I Am. She asks and answers:
"Are our lives any “easier” today? I doubt it. We’ve simply replaced physical struggle with mental anxiety. And I would argue that a lot of that anxiety occurs because we are not satisfying that innate need to be manually and creatively occupied. Art, Craft and Manual Production satisfy that need on every level."
Make, fix, create. Become whole.

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