The following researchers will hold the keynote speeches at the EAS Conference in Belgrade in May 2022:
(Professor of Music Psychology, Keele University, Keele, Staffordshire, UK)
Where do musical memories and preferences come from?
This presentation will discuss the many varied influences on musical memories and preferences across childhood and adolescence. Beginning with the origins of musical memory, I will consider how music preference is shaped in the early years and the important role of significant others in forming early musical memories. I will draw on research exploring music preference in the school years and on data from adults reflecting back on their childhood experiences and memories of music, including formal education as well as a large amount of informal listening and playing experiences. This has considerable implications for music education in understanding more about where children and young adults’ most formative experiences of music happen and who they are shared with, as well as in knowing more about the genres of music and the musical experiences that stay with people throughout life.
(Professor of Music, University of Roehampton)
‘Count Me In! Exploring Musical Meaning Across the Spectrum of Neurodiversity’
This talk will explore the impact of special abilities and needs on children’s capacity to understand music and to engage in musical activities. Drawing on the Sounds of Intent framework of musical development, it will show how, as children grow up, they come to extract increasingly sophisticated information from the music they hear, and thus construct musical meaning in progressively more advanced ways. A discussion will follow on the impact on these music-developmental journeys of the different ways of perceiving and thinking about the world brought through learning difficulties, sensory impairment or autism. The consequences of these differences for music educators will be examined, and strategies for facilitating individual’s musical growth and for promoting inclusion in mixed-ability groups will be set out.
(Professor, Faculty of Philosophy, University of Niš, Serbia; Department of Musicology and Media Studies, Humboldt University, Berlin)
Multilevel Grounding: A Theory of Musical Meaning and Its Implications for Music Education
The approach proposes six hierarchical contextual factors (“grounding boxes”) which constrain music semiosis. The listener first identifies perceptual Gestalten in the music (e.g. a difference between staccato and legato sections), draws cross-modal correspondences with elementary non-musical sensations of force, space, and movement (e.g. the fact the staccato as opposed to legato is “-LINKED”), moves on to affective inferences (e.g. agitation emerging from the question “how it feels to experience such articulation on one’s body”), proto-conceptual scenarios (e.g. an agent running, in response to the question “who or what typically performs such an action”), semantic constructions backed by cultural experience (e.g. Tom chasing Jerry), and ultimately personal interpretations (e.g. invoking the positive valence of watching the cartoon in childhood). The system is envisaged as a continuum, taking the listener from more universal toward more culturally-laden, simpler to more complex, obligatory to optional specifications of musical interpretation.
In relation to music education, a conscious awareness of “formal” tension and relaxation patterns might help better instruct performers on (intra-)musical expressiveness, where a student might use a “curved line” denoting real-time changes in musical energy as a supplement to the score. Cross-modal inferences (such as scales that “move upward” for some participants, yet “become heavier” for others) may prompt teachers to think of alternative notation systems for the youngest students. Level 3 may help better explain how specific combinations of musical factors (e.g. a broken diminished chord played in a particular dynamic) induce real time changes of affect (and then how particular performance techniques may be used to deliberately manipulate these affects in the audience). Levels 4 and 5 may help explain how entrenched interpretations of programmatic musical motifs get (ab)used in new media contexts – e.g. satirized versions of the American anthem, instructing even more advanced students into the nuances of motivic variation.