Music, whole systems, whole self LO11644

Michael Erickson (
Fri, 3 Jan 1997 09:12:03 -0800 (PST)

Replying to LO11549 --

Hello all.

Re: Peggy Shadel's comments about music and the "right/left brain"

My wife is one of those dedicated choral performers who has all of the
choruses and several of the arias of Handels Messiah committed to memory.
(having performed it with a full orchestra in college some 12 or more
years ago).

After dragging me into a local choir-and my resulting discovery that I
also have some facility for this sort of work, I've concluded that music
is an excellent "integrator" of mind function, (Peggy Shadel worried that
mentioning right/left brain function was a bad idea-well it's not-there
are just a few folks who are stuck in left brain mode who know the details
of that analogy aren't quite accurate-and tend to get very uptight and
want to throw the whole idea out).

Aside from the teaming required by a choral presentation (with the 4 or 8
part harmonies) cooperation with the instrumentalist and the synergy of
group musical expression, there is the personal benefit of bringing
together the logical/rational functions of learning the notes and timing,
coupled with the intuitive/creative functions where you feel the music,
and flow with it-adding to it. Makes for a whole system.

There are few experiences in life that will allow you to let go
emotionally and spiritually, as music requires, while keeping you
connected to the timing and tonal requirements. It's also interesting to
notice musicians who - after learning the discipline of musical pattern,
notes/chord structure, step away from it to let the "magic" happen.
Blues and Jazz musicions live for this sort of thing. Many classical
musicians-especially pianists-get stuck in the "technique", resulting in
performances that are stiff and lifeless-although they are technically

Ya gotta have both the heart and the brain in the mix.

As for the Learning Organization... I sometimes can achieve some of this
integration using cartoon art, and get some of that mix. People get their
heart involved with the logic, and we end up with better teaming and more
intense learning than we would have otherwise. I don't know if Americans
are inclined to compose songs, as Peggy described, unless they are
parodies-not often all that complemenatary. Sarcasm while tending toward
the negative, is also an unleasher of creative muscle, so I don't
discourage it, although I try to make sure it is tempered.

So, I guess this is another case for wholistic engagement of the mind in
this LO activity, be it music, art, dance....

Michael Erickson

On Mon, 23 Dec 1996 wrote: > Replying to LO11530 --
> Joe comments, "Music draws on one's creative powers and gives them public
> expression. Sometimes it can be a challenge just to match the notes, but
> once profiiency is reached every song and playing becomes slightly
> different each time."
> Once proficiency is reached ( and I could argue that to most musicians
> that is almost never reached the way we would like) the playing is BETTER
> every time. As you pass through the learning stages and begin to make
> music (by adding passion, expressiveness or as we sometimes say"heart"),
> something happens that is difficult to describe and must be experienced.
> When that happens, the desire to improve grows stronger and each
> performance grows better.
> There is so much of music that is so applicable with a LO. As one who is
> less technically oriented and more creatively (dare I say right brained)
> oriented, I can see how LOs have the capabilility to marry the two -- as I
> believe they are meant to be.


Michael Erickson <>

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