Natural Harmony Mother Nature Is The Driving Force Behind Our Music

Develops a sense of harmony and rhythm with nature, and thus a caring attitude…. Music/outdoors as a springboard to enquiry into other subjects, creative learning, pupil-centred aspects. Listen to the winning songs from the Tune into Nature Music Prize 2021 and then join our music experiment by letting us know your reaction. The competition is open to anyone aged and resident in the UK.

We summarize here key findings related to the growth of musical abilities from studies of infant individuals that we have reported previously. Bullowa used information from anthropology to draw attention to the measured dynamics of communication. Then René Spitz and Bowlby revealed the devastating effects on a child’s emotional well-being of separation from maternal care in routine hospital care with nursing directed only to respond to those reflex demands. Spitz observed that babies develop smiling between 2 and 5 months to regulate social contacts , and he went on to study the independent will of the baby to regulate engagements of care or communication, by nodding the head for ‘yes’ or shaking for ‘no’ .

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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. This is the science of communicative musicality which underpins the music we create and enjoy. Thus, part of the reason music therapy ‘works’ is its invitation for cultural collaboration – we exercise what has been called our ‘deep social mind’ following particular cultural forms. This wish to learn the forms of culture, our ‘conformal motive’ , comes to life within an environment where we sense our communicative gestures are being valued by another or others through the creation of shared narratives of vitality forms .

Further, we argue that music comes from the way in which knowing bodies (Merleau-Ponty, 2012 , p. 431) prospectively explore the environment using habitual ‘patterns of action,’ which we have identified as our innate ‘communicative musicality,’ observed while infants are in intimate communication with loving caregivers . In short case studies of infant interactions with micro analyses of video and audio recordings, we show communicative musicality in the timings and shapes of intersubjective vocalizations and body movements of adult and child that improvise with delight shared narratives of meaning. We propose that teachers and students of music at all levels learn how best to do their work by deliberately invoking the rhythms of the student’s innate creative vitality while demonstrating cultural conventions that make rich use of this talent . In all instances the motives of the learner, and how they may change with development of the body and experiences gained, are of crucial importance (Bannan and Woodward, 2009; Ingold, 2018). As with all education, the success of teaching depends on recognition of how children’s ‘zest for learning’ (Whitehead, 1929; Dewey, 1938) changes with age and the development of body and mind. In our opinion brain science has been most insightful into the nature of the self and what makes us human, and how we share the joy and pains of life, when it investigates ‘Primary Process’ emotional guidance of brain growth for regulation of vitality in body movement and its ‘seeking’ awareness (Hess, 1954; Solms and Panksepp, 2012).

Rhythmic co-ordination by the Intrinsic Motive Pulse of the brain holds body movements together in composition of intentions and experiences . It is the medium for all shared experiences and purposes, and for the convivial vitality of music making. However, the practice of music therapy is more than the therapeutic use of preverbal protomusic, however, important this is. Reflecting our discussion above on music and education, music therapy is also making use of the cultural forms of our musicality, and the power these cultural forms have within our psyche (for example, Donald, 1991; MacDonald et al., 2002; Stern, 2010). The pediatrician Sander, (1964, 1975; republished in Sander, 2008) recognized that an infant and caregiver create a coherent system of actions regulated with feelings of vitality in shared time.

Companionship involves exchanging affect through sharing the quality or virtue of impulses of motivation, which is the original rich meaning of ‘sympatheia’ in Greek . As well as showing inflexible, ‘non-graceful’ behavior of a mother who is suffering from BPD, this example also shows the resilience and hope of the infant in the face of her mother’s rigid communicative style. This will of our communicative musicality, evident from the earliest of interactions with infants (Papoušek, 1996), is utilized in therapies that employ in-the-moment intersubjective interactions as means for healing (Stern et al., 1998; Stern, 2000, p. xiv). This immediately responsive interaction may be through talking, through music-making, through dance, or touch.

The Oak Project is an initiative that aims to inspire and motivate public action for nature and climate through arts, culture and creativity. Miles is a Professor of Human Factors and Nature Connectedness, a chartered ergonomist, chartered psychologist and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Ergonomics and Human Factors. He founded the Nature Connections Research Group at the University of Derby which has pioneered the first everyday interventions to bring about sustained increases in connection with nature and wellbeing.