In this course we will explore collective activities that involve listening and making sound together, at the intersection of music-making and contemplative practices, drawing on Pauline Oliveros’s “Sonic Meditations” and “Deep Listening Pieces” and related work by other musicians and thinkers. Every class meeting will include experiential work and discussion. For every meeting except the first, there is a reading assignment. During the semester you will write three brief papers (3-5 pages each) reflecting on your experiences with group activities in relation to ideas of your choice from the assigned reading.
Email responses to assigned reading are due every week from the second week on.
By 8 AM on the day of a class meeting, send me some thoughts about what you discovered in your preparation. A brief message, around 150-250 words, will be fine; you can write more if you wish. There is no specific format or content for these responses. Take them as an opportunity to write freely and personally about what you read; and take them as an opportunity to have good new ideas about the material through the process of writing about it.
The heart of the course is experience, along with reflection on experience. Students will need to commit to attending the class meetings. The activities we will do are often deeply relaxing; I hope this course can offer a moment of repose, reflection, and discovery in the middle of your week.
8/29 Greetings and introduction; first Deep Listening activity
9/5 Deep Listening 2. Reading: Carole Ione, “Listening in Dreams”
9/12 Deep Listening 3. Reading: Richard Shusterman, “Somaesthetic Awakening and the Art of Living”
9/19 Deep Listening 4. Reading: Thich Nhat Hahn, “Deep Listening”
9/26 Deep Listening 5. Reading: Pauline Oliveros, “On Sonic Meditation”
9/28 Paper 1 due
10/3 Deep Listening 6. Reading: Pauline Oliveros, “Software for People”
10/10 Deep Listening 7. Reading: Roland Barthes, “Listening”
10/17 Deep Listening 8. Reading John Cage, “Lecture on Nothing,” “Lecture on Something”
10/24 Walking. Reading: Viv Corrington, “Listening with the Feet”; Andra McCartney, “Meaningful Listening through Soundwalks”; Garnette Cadogan, “Walking While Black”
10/31 Improvisation 1. Reading: Stephen Nachmanovitch, Free Play, pp. 1-111
11/2 Paper 2 due
11/7 Improvisation 2. Reading: Christopher Bollas, “Free Association”
11/14 Improvisation 3. Reading: Stephen Nachmanovitch, Free Play, pp. 115-197
11/21 [no class]
11/28 Fluxus performances 1. Reading: Dick Higgins, “Intermedia”
12/5 Fluxus performances 2. Reading: Dick Higgins, “The Danger of Lecturing at Concerts,” “Boredom and Danger”
12/7 Paper 3 due