Music, Drama and Mindfulness
In the summer term, Student Affairs responded to requests from students who wished to alleviate stress, improve their concentration and reduce performance anxiety, by organising classes in the practice of meditation.
Srivati, a meditation teacher from the London Buddhist Centre ran a five-week meditation course for students. The students learnt the Mindfulness of Breathing meditation, a calming meditation whereby one focuses on one’s breath and which increases awareness, and the Metta Bhavana, which produces a positive mental state and feelings of compassion. Both practices complement each other and combined to have a tangible impact not only on the professional experience of Guildhall School musicians, in terms of improved performance due to increased concentration and feelings of deep-relaxation, but also on their general state of well-being.
At the end of the course, feedback from the students involved was positive with comments like: “I found myself
more available and efficient.” “Meditation helps me to concentrate when I am playing; my mind just focuses on the music and interpretation.” And, “Meditating regularly has given me feelings of calm and well-being that I haven’t really experienced before.”
In September, Rolf Hind, Professor of Piano, will be launching a groundbreaking research study to establish just what effect the practice of meditation (mindfulness) can have on music and drama students. Such studies have been conducted in other areas but this research marks a first. It will roughly follow the pattern of taught courses conducted both here and in the States, which have been shown to have beneficial effects on people suffering with stress and depression. The project will measure how these and other parameters are affected by a commitment to meditation over an eight-week period.
v Graham O’Donnell Health & Welfare Officer v Rolf Hind Professor of Piano
Voiceworks goes Digital
Since 2006 Birkbeck Contemporary Poetics Research Centre and the Composition Department at Guildhall School have been exploring the collaborative possibilities of the making of new works for voice.
Each October a group of around eight poets and writers are matched with composers and singers, to form small creative teams. Through a process of workshops and seminars, in which students exchange work, listen to other traditions and practice, and become acutely aware of their own creative processes and assumptions, the groups develop songs. With Guildhall instrumentalists on board this process culminates in performance events in May at both the Guildhall School and Wigmore Hall, London’s major international venue for song. Initially emerging from the Wigmore Hall song cycle project, this unique collaboration has developed an innovative richness that has been astonishing, not only enabling a reflective dialogue around the interface between text and music, but also establishing ongoing creative partnerships and new work.
This year, Voiceworks has entered an exciting new phase with the launch of www.voiceworks.org.uk
, a bespoke digital platform for the project, which aims to allow participants to continue their collaborative work online, and for any and all interested practitioners to access and contribute to this creative dialogue. This year’s Wigmore
20 GUILDHALL SCHOOL NEWS • AUTUMN / WINTER 2010
Hall performance was live-streamed on the site, produced by Plushmusic, and audio recordings of previous years’ collaborations are also now available, together with detailed information about the works and their creators. The website – built by celebrated design team Rebels in Control – has been made possible through an award from the Arts and Humanities Research Council, as part of their Digital Futures scheme.
It is intended that the site will not only archive the work of this project, but will become an important engine for creative research around text and music. An international advisory board of distinguished poetic and musical practitioners has been established to assist in identifying other relevant practice elsewhere, and the commissioning of articles, interviews, think pieces and other contributions. We hope that voiceworks.org.uk
becomes an essential research tool for composers, singers and poets wanting to explore cutting-edge practice at the interface of their disciplines.
Voiceworks is directed from the Guildhall School by Dr Richard Baker, Julian Philips and Armin Zanner, and from Birkbeck by Dr Carol Watts, Dr Stephen Mooney and Professor William Rowe.
v Richard Baker Joint Head of Composition
| Page 2
| Page 3
| Page 4
| Page 5
| Page 6
| Page 7
| Page 8
| Page 9
| Page 10
| Page 11
| Page 12
| Page 13
| Page 14
| Page 15
| Page 16
| Page 17
| Page 18
| Page 19
| Page 20
| Page 21
| Page 22
| Page 23
| Page 24
| Page 25
| Page 26
| Page 27
| Page 28