Session/Séance 3h: MusCan Panel 2 Thursday/jeudi 25 May 2017. 4:00 – 5:00 pm, EJB 225.
Breath and Beneficial Practice
Chair: JANE LEIBEL (Memorial University of Newfoundland)
1. Music as Mindfulness: Re-Imagining Practice
Karen Bulmer, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Mindfulness can be understood as the ability to rest awareness on moment-to-moment experience with an attitude of openness and non-judgment. It is most often cultivated through practice of formal meditation. Studies have shown that mindfulness meditation supports the development of a variety of skills of particular importance to musicians including attention (Lutz et al, 2008) and self-regulation (Tang et al, 2007) and that it may also help reduce music performance anxiety (Ling et al, 2008). Additionally, several musician-meditators have written compellingly about the powerful impact of meditation practice on music learning and performance (Bruser, 2013; Werner, 1996; Bogatin 2014). Does this mean that all musicians should add meditation to their practice regimes? Or are there other ways in which musicians can develop and reap the benefits of mindfulness? An argument can be made that mindfulness makes its most powerful impact on musicians when it is embedded in the process of music-making itself – that is, when music-making is re-imaged as mindfulness practice. I draw on insights from recent research, Buddhist psych- ology, and my own experience teaching mindfulness to musicians to explore various ways in which mindfulness can be cultivated through music practice and what the practical and psychological benefits of doing so might be.
2. Exploring the Impact of Group Singing on Adults with Breathing Difficulties
C. Jane Gosine / Kalen Thomson / Jamie Farrell / Susan Avery, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Recent studies have shown that engaging in creative activities, such as singing, can lead to an improved sense of wellbeing for people living with chronic health conditions (Fancourt, 2016; McNaughton, 2016; Goodridge, 2013; Clift, 2012, 2015; Lord, 2012, 2010; Gick, 2011; Bonilha, 2009). This study examines the perceived health benefits of regular organized group singing on individuals with breathing difficulties. The group was specifically designed to provide a musical and supportive environment for those with breathing difficulties in order to encourage full participation in choir activities despite possible limitations imposed by members’ medical conditions. Informed by approaches used in respiratory therapy, physiotherapy, speech pathology, music therapy and choral training, the focus is on developing better breath awareness and control; vocal confidence, range, projection and agility; increased upper body movement; and relaxation techniques. Vocal exercises have been developed to match the specific needs of the group, and repertoire is chosen that matches the musical preferences and desired therapeutic outcomes. Since there is currently no support group for people with lung disease in Newfoundland and Labrador, the choir also serves as a support group, providing information on topics of interest to those living with various chronic medical conditions that affect breathing. The findings will serve as a guide to providing multi-disciplinary care for individuals with chronic disease, and engaging members of the community in an arts-based health intervention.