mercnewslogo.jpg •Nadia Boulanger and American Music Conference
•Interview with Don Campbell
•2 Exciting New Resources
 

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interview with Don Campbell


    Dr. Susan Weber, music therapist at MMB Music, recently interviewed Don Campbell.

SW: You have had a wonderfully rich and varied life, living and teaching in the west and east. I would like to go back closer to the beginning. How did a 13 year-old deal with going from south Texas to Fontainebleau?

DC: At age 13, my mind and body were completely ripe for an ultimate shift in awareness of the world around me--from the neighborhood Methodist church in San Antonio to the great cathedrals of Paris, from a good junior high band to the exquisite ear training of the finest solfég&è teachers in France. It was an abduction into a new harmonic experience.

I remember being in awe of how different every aspect of life was, the first day I started studying at the L'École d'Art Americaine or School of Fine Arts for Americans in the Palace at Fontainebleau. After being in France for only two days, my father had gotten me an audition to play for Robert Casadesus and Nadia Boulanger. Fortunately, I had no fear. In later years, in graduate school while studying conducting, I shivered at the thought of what I had already done in my life . For nearly three years, I had summer classes with Mademoiselle Boulanger her and the faculty. During the rest of the year, I had weekly lesson with Jean Casadesus, biweekly lessons with Annette Dieudonné, and monthly classes with "Mademoiselle".

In those early years, I learned to listen exactly, because my talent was not on any level of brilliance but my devotion and enthusiasm for study and learning were high. I was recently visiting my uncle, who is in hospice in Texas, and he said to me, "Don't ever forget how important that woman was in France. She lifted you from Texas and took you to the world."

SW: How did Mademoiselle Boulanger influence you?

DC: Somehow the pattern of being both fearless and devoted to a cause throughout my life was impregnated by my time with Nadia Boulanger. She stressed the importance of rigor and discipline. She provided an impeccable focus for accomplishing new ideas within the possibilities of music; new ideas in regard to the structure, the foundation, and the future of musical thought. She was seldom interested in just "doing things radically different for the sake of it."

Her interest was in taking existing forms and pushing them to such a degree that they would find new definitions within the language of music and art. I know this imprint has influenced all my work on music in society through health and education. We have not yet seen how powerful music is in a broad sense of social consciousness. We have the tools for scientific assessment of sound and music for the mind and body. Yet I believe these studies are in their late infancy, compared to what we will know in the future about the power of art on the human spirit.

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Awakening Ashley: Mozart Knocks Autism On its Ear
Sharon Ruben
$18.95


Story of a little girl's recovery from autism. Ashley could hear, but she couldn't listen. Using the Tomatis Method, a sound stimulation therapy program, and the Mozart Effect to retrain her ears to perceive sound better took her back to the time in the womb-—where listening begins. With the help of Mozart, Ashley was awakened!

View Today Show segment on Autism and the Tomatis Method as discussed by Spectrum Center's Valerie Dejean, Katie Couric, and author Sharon Ruben.

    "Listen Up!  This remarkable story is for every parent with a child waiting to be awakened to language and communication. Tune-in to the powers of music and the ear that can help harmonize and organize your world."

--Don Campbell.




Solace (CD)
Michael Hoppé
$21.00

Solace is a balm for the soul during such times "where the dark clouds in life give way to the glow of eternal hope and peace." Nominated for a GRAMMY® Award, Solace includes 12 of Hoppé's signature compositions--a reflective, healing journey perfectly suited to our times.

Michael Hoppé is joined by the Prague Symphony, the legendary Vangelis, violinist Eugene Fodor, among others, in this hauntingly beautiful exploration of meditative and restorative music.

SW: How did you deal with going back to Texas?

    DC: After three years in France, I took one year in Germany to study organ before I started at the University of North Texas. I had been accepted to the Peabody School of Music as well as the New England Conservatory of Music but chose North Texas State because of its wide range of exposure to music in the 1960s, which included jazz, as well as experiments with electronic music. The culture shock of Texas was not difficult because it was my home state and North Texas provided a remarkable experience for me through its very inclusive view of music.

SW: Another theme--Gagaku. "Sounds of antiquity, elegance enduring." You say that the Gagaku you first heard at the Imperial Palace was a transcendent experience that helped shaped your life in music. Would you tell us about that?

    DC: In 1970, I was invited to join the faculty of St. Mary's International School in Tokyo. In October, 1970, a friend of mine asked if I wanted to go to a concert on a Saturday afternoon and gave me a ticket. This is very interesting because it was at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo. At the Palace I was taken to a small performance hall with a stage that had two big ornate drums as well as some stringed instruments that looked not unlike the koto and shamasen.

    A few minutes later when a small ensemble of twelve played, I heard sounds that had never, never come to my mind. It was as if I was lifted into a whole new realm of heaven. Up to that point, Bach's magnificent choral works and Beethoven's Missa Solemnis had baited my appetite for a transcendent realm of music. Suddenly, the sound of the reeds of the sho sent chills down my back. I began to hear consummate new ways of organizing harmony and form. It was only a few months afterward that I learned very few people were invited to this event--that the tickets were extremely coveted and impossible to get.

    Over the next few years I heard more Gagaku. It is the oldest conserved music in the world. By the sixth century, this music that originated in China and moved through Korea had come into the Imperial Household of Japan. It was a true conservatory because the musicians and their families stayed together under the umbrella of the Imperial Household, as well as every generation thereafter. It is highly formed music. The notation is in Chinese characters, Kanji as it is called in Japanese. This music became a great inspiration for me as I began to experiment and analyze different forms of ambient music. As I have studied the therapeutic and psychological responses to sound, I think Gagaku has a much more ethereal, non-earthy response for the listener. It is as if it is lifted and taken out of any time-space orientation.

SW: For me, Mozart is also "elegance enduring." Any connections?

    DC: That's a wonderful observation. Mozart's elegance as well as eloquence, comes in his form and structure of sound. If anything, Mozart's music reminds me of the Mogul architecture from India--with the repetitive lines, the pattern mosaic. He uses, very generally speaking, sonata-allegro form and the rondo and variations to keep our focus on the earthly temporal time-space relationship. The beauty and elegance he brings forth from the music lifts us to what many people call a place of great aesthetics. To compare the finest of Japanese food with the best Austrian food may seem entirely different in taste and presentation. But yet, the nutrition may feed us on subtle levels which are not able to yet assess.

    I have to tell you the most remarkable story. Last month I was in Lima, Peru, keynoting a conference for international school teachers at the Colegio Roosevelt in Lima. As always, if there is a school in session, I like to sit in the back of the class and just experience the teachers and class. And so rather than going to one of the workshops, I asked where the elementary music class was. I said, "Do you think it is possible that I could just sit in the back?" And they said, "Oh, we have visitors all the time."

    I'm not exaggerating this at all. I walked into the 4th grade class of 30 boys and girls.
    This is what they were singing:

    It's a mostly Mozart morning,
    On a mostly Mozart day,
    So good for your heart,
    and everyday you start
    with a mostly Mozart day.
    Al--le-lu--ia, Al-le-lu-ia--, Al-le--lu--ia, Al-le-lu-ia."


    How on earth could that have happened? I missed the conferences other than the classes that I taught. I listened to the music class and they were singing themes from a number of different compositions of Mozart and Bach. Those melodies will be with them forever.

    I don't think that I would ever go to a school anywhere in Japan and see 4th graders playing Gagaku. To compare these worlds should never exclude them from one another. We all have these different recipes. The quality of classical music, the quality of older forms of music is so rich to children. In my work in schools, working with teachers, giving them quality music, I want them to know a child's soul recognizes the quality of this music.

SW: The St. Louis Art Museum recently had an exquisite exhibit of jewelry from the Mogul kingdoms in India. I can easily imagine Mozart matching it beautifully.

    DC: Mozart has been a wonderful debate. Not only in therapy, research, and psychology, but in the life of the young mind which he lived. Mozart is generally quite comfortable in many, many environments and it has been interesting to watch film and television over the last 20 years to observe how contemporary ideas have been embossed with classical music. Mozart is in some ways a real mythical character. And myths really do create our lives. They may be stories that never happen, but they occur every day. He was a prodigy. He was anticipated. He taught the royalty. He lived a multileveled life with immense output. As Maynard Solomon said in his fine biography of Mozart, "There was a real Christology there." Here was a prophet, a young child, a master, and then suddenly a pauper with no grave. His music is somehow resurrected. This is part of the mythic quality that surrounds Mozart.

SW: Another change in subject, while I was living in Germany, I saw wonderful results with people who had had treatment at Tomatis clinics throughout Europe. What brought you to Tomatis?

    DC: Both Tomatis and Boulanger shaped my professional life. Having spent many years in France, I had heard rumors of this extraordinary man who used Mozart and Gregorian chant to treat children with speech and communication problems. It's wasn't until the early '80s that I was able to meet Tomatis. Canadian Broadcasting had done a remarkable program called Chant. The program had been sent to me by some of my students. I met him in Toronto over twenty years ago. What fascinated me so very much was his ability to ask entirely different questions--in a different paradigm--about the ear, human speech, and the role of sound in mind-body medicine.

    It is curious that his work is not recognized by many therapists, much less musicians in the US. One reason is the FDA does not allow the testing to be done in this country. The pioneering work is happening in Vienna, Mexico City, France, as well as Japan. How sound is received through the bones, through the ears, through the brain is being researched and is paramount to this work. It is used with coma and head injured patients and in the more familiar forms of language development. There is a wonderful exception in the US, the Spectrum Center in Bethesda, MD. Dr. Valerie DeJean has a large clinic for autistic, head-injured, and severely dyslexic children. She is regarded by Dr. Stanley Greenspan and many other professionals as a real pioneer in occupational therapy.

    Tomatis knew Nadia Boulanger and actually lived not too far away from her in Paris. His father had been a musician, a singer, in Paris. He insisted we should never be afraid to challenge the way people listen. Listening is the key to therapy, medicine, and a whole new world of arts. The hearing of music and the performance of music is just half the story. What I want to see is how we change the listener. If you read in my books from Rhythms of Learning all the way through The Mozart Effect® and Music, Physician for Times to Come, you will notice that listening is the primary theme.

    Tomatis continued to observe the posture, the mind and body, the emotions, the psychological state to receive music as primary to health. The same pieces of music in the cars we are driving, or the background in a restaurant, is entirely different than when we are sitting listening to it on our CD at home. If we are tired at the end of the day or have paid $75 to hear the same music played by a symphony orchestra, the results are different. The psychology of listening is primary to my work.

SW: The world is becoming more and more aware of how we can use music in therapy, during medical interventions, and in education. Where do you see this wonderful development going?

    DC: It is going in multiple directions very rapidly. Twenty-five years ago, when I started to write in this field, the idea that music could modify relaxation and stress was not generally known or accepted by the public. Now it is used as a basic useful and easy intervention for stress reduction and relaxation.

    We are beginning to research pathways that will allow us to access the more "medical, therapeutic, and spiritual" views. But there is more to the human system. To dialogue and listen to each other, no matter what our language or musical preferences may be, we are finding that we as educators, researchers, and musicians really have tools to bring harmony to this world: to nurture it toward a peaceful, creative, and expressive place.

     
mercnewslogo.jpg •Nadia Boulanger and American Music Conference
•Interview with Don Campbell
•2 Exciting New Resources

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