Music is at the centre of what it means to be human – it is the sounds of human bodies and minds moving in creative, story-making ways. Following a survey of the history of discoveries of infant abilities, we propose that the gestural narrative structures of voice and body seen as infants communicate with loving caregivers are the building blocks of what become particular cultural instances of the art of music, and of dance, theatre and other temporal arts. Children enter into a musical culture where their innate communicative musicality can be encouraged and strengthened through sensitive, respectful, playful, culturally informed teaching in companionship. The central importance of our abilities for music as part of what sustains our well-being is supported by evidence that communicative musicality strengthens emotions of social resilience to aid recovery from mental stress and illness. Drawing on the experience of the first author as a counsellor, we argue that the strength of one person’s communicative musicality can support the vitality of another’s through the application of skilful techniques that encourage an intimate, supportive, therapeutic, spirited companionship.

Most astonishing, and dismissed with derision by convinced rational mind-separate-from-body constructivists, was the finding that infants activate the many parts of their body with an exquisite sense of time, and that they can use the rhythms of expression skilfully to imitate in inter-synchrony with attentive responses from an adult . Infants have no language to learn what other humans know, or what ancestors knew. But the vitality of their spontaneous communicative musicality, highly coordinated and adapted to be shared through narratives with sympathetic and playful companions, enables meaningful communication in the ‘present moment’ (Stern, 2004; Figure 1, Upper Right), which may build serviceable memories extended in space and time . Voice modulations that express emotions of relating in a psychological disorder, and in relational therapy.

  • I knew I wanted music to become my world because it allowed me to feel the most beautiful emotions.
  • Elements of musically more complex Standard Songs are picked up from play with adults and hearing them sing, and are adapted to fit what the child is doing.
  • An excess of ‘artificial signs,’ perhaps aimed at increasing productivity, leads to loneliness and ruthless rationality.
  • The launch in 2020 saw 180 entries and resulted in the inaugural winner, I Eden by LYDIAH.
  • This part says, “Well, I was uncommunicative this morning – that’s all right, that’s OK.

It is known that having a connection to nature is integral to the wellbeing of people, and the planet. 3 –Evidence shows that young people lose their connection with nature rapidly, reaching a lifetime low in their teenage years before slowly rising again through their 20s to levels still not high enough for a sustainable future. Ceitidh Mac, originally from rural Wales and now based in Newcastle, has been selected as the winner of this year’s Prize for her entry Birds.

One has to go to a concert, or a church or a musical festival, to recapture the collective excitement and bonding of music. In such a situation, there seems to be an actual binding of nervous systems, the unification of an audience by a veritable ‘neurogamy’ (Sacks, 2006, p. 2528). After the baby is born and seeks intimate communication of all motives with a parent, the affective system remains as the director of learning and appreciation of what is gained by new awareness. “The first generalized movements occur in week 8 (de Vries et al., 1984), but already in week 5 monoamine transmission pathways grow from the brainstem to animate the primordial cerebral hemispheres. Key components of the Emotional Motor System are in place when the neocortex is unformed.” (Trevarthen, 2001, p. 26). Bullowa used information from anthropology to draw attention to the measured dynamics of communication.

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In addition to Ceitidh’s overall winning song, this year three further selected entrants have been awarded the Tune Into Nature Highly Commended Prize, and will each receive a small grant to support their work. These winners include Flo Perlin, a contemporary Folk singer-songwriter from London with Iraqi and Belarusian heritage; Newcastle-based composer, vocalist, and musical omnivore Catch The Sparrow, and Rohith Sakthy, a singer who was introduced to Indian Carnatic music from the age of four in Kerala, India. In the example presented in Figure 5A we see a consistent rigidity of expression and a lack of self-confident invention on the part of a mother suffering from BPD . She repeats the same up-and-down vocal gesture again and again, with almost no vocal participation on the part of the infant.

nature music

Repetition and variation between the vocalizations of infant and caregiver feature from the very first shared vocalizations, regulating feelings in social interactions . Later, the growing child will continue to play with how music can convey affect and change their own and others’ mood, the four-part structure of Introduction, Development, Climax and Resolution, identified above in the structure of a proto-conversation, becoming the basis of large scale musical works, as well as verbal argument . A stimulating contribution to this new approach came from the work of anthropologist and linguist Mary Catherine Bateson, daughter of anthropologists Gregory Bateson and Margaret Meade. In 1969 Bateson had her first child after beginning postgraduate studies at MIT with Margaret Bullowa, researching language development using statistical analysis of vocal expressions.

The Norwegian musicologist Jon-Roar Bjørkvold collected and studied the songs of 4–7-year-olds in three kindergartens in Oslo. He observed how they gave voice to emotion, conveyed information, and established relationships through learning and creating their own children’s musical culture. He identified two types of children’s singing – ‘egocentric’ for private pleasure, which, as the child matures, gives way to more social or ‘communicative’ music making.

How Old Were You When You Started Playing The Piano And When Did You Realise That It Was Your Passion?

The Railway Land Wildlife Trust presents ‘Songs of Nature,’ a concert featuring artists from diverse musical backgrounds performing music inspired by nature. Come and join us as we explore how to make music out of nature. We will make our own percussion instruments together out of foraged items and then have fun playing them!

Although blind, Maria knows the feelings of anticipated movement of her hand, and uses them to sense and share the human vitality dynamics in her mother’s voice. This kinematic sensibility was identified by Olga Maratos in her pioneering research in imitation as foundational for the ability of a young infant to reproduce another person’s expression seen or heard . Indeed, vocal perception, detecting the modulation of pitch and timing in an adult’s voice sounds, develops much faster than vocal production. The infant may be tracking sound with reference to the kinesics of the fastest and most complex gestural movements of her hands. In line with Goodrich’s “counter tradition,” their work anticipates the new understanding of the human BrainMind pioneered by Panksepp and Damasio, which gives primary importance to feelings of vitality in movement, and to emotions that express positive and negative affections in sympathetic communication.

While her baby is lying down during bottle feeding, the mother sings two baby songs including “Mors Lille Olle,” well-known throughout Scandinavia. It was not realized until later when the video was viewed that Maria was ‘conducting’ the melodies with delicate expressive movements of her left hand, while the right hand was making unrelated movements, stroking her body. At certain points in the course of the melody Maria’s finger moves 300 milliseconds before the mother’s voice. She knows the song well, and leads the ‘performance’ (Trevarthen, 1999; Schögler and Trevarthen, 2007). We conclude with a Coda – an enquiry into the philosophy of the Scottish Enlightenment, which built on the work of philosophers Heraclitus and Spinoza.