Kay Norton, associate professor in the School of Music, presented the paper “Using Aesthetics to Help Students Recognize the Long Reach of Romanticism in Music” at the North American Conference on 19th-century Music at Vanderbilt University on June 7.
This juried presentation was part of a panel called Bringing 19th-Century Music Alive in the 21st-Century Classroom, which also featured faculty members from the College of William and Mary and the University of Denver. Norton discussed the fact that music philosophy and aesthetics provide fresh alternatives to more standard, chronological presentations of 19th-century masterworks, cultures and geniuses of music. Such classes foreground conversations about musical meaning and the nature of its influence over humans.
Norton also presented her research poster "The Blues and Group Bonding: An Interdisciplinary Perspective" at the international Neurosciences and Music VI conference at Harvard Medical School on June 16. The poster synthesizes information on ethos theory and downhome blues with behavioral and biomedical research on ways singing together impacts social relationships (Cross and Woodruff 2009); biomarkers of stress and immune function (Kuhn 2002, Kreutz et al. 2004); entrainment of heartrate variability (Thaut 2005, Müller and Lindenberger 2011) and respiration (Vickhoff et al. 2013); and group cohesion relating to the perception of a common song form (Large and Snyder 2009). When Damon’s paradigm is thus contextualized, the power of shared song to bind people, even those so far removed from ancient Greece by culture, chronology and experience as 1900s African Americans, is better understood. This research continues work published in Norton's monograph, “Singing and Wellbeing: Ancient Wisdom, Modern Proof” (Routledge, 2-15).