Contemplative Studies is a growing interdisciplinary field of inquiry that focuses on the recovery, fostering, and development of the contemplative dimensions of teaching, learning, and knowing, and their applicability to disciplines ranging from STEM to the Humanities and Fine Arts. For the performer of medieval music in particular, the process of integrating and interiorizing historical research, specific techniques, styles, repertoires, texts, and contexts is enhanced greatly by a contemplative approach that prioritizes reflection, memory, depth, and a conscious awareness of the process itself.
My engagement with research in Contemplative Studies directly and organically links my study of medieval music, vernacular music, and holistic pedagogy, and occurs at the nexus of historical performance, improvisation, and cognition. Inquiry into Contemplative Studies therefore informs everything I do as a scholar and teacher, and links intellectual and philosophical priorities I have held for the past thirty years. For me, as a practitioner of meditation since the age of 18, it also fosters the integration of “doing and being,” the inner and outer self, the personal and the professional.
At Texas Tech, I teach a mixed undergrad/graduate class called “Music and the Contemplative Mind,” an inquiry into the connection between music and contemplative practice through historical accounts, and current research. We also look at case studies of contemporary musicians, and explore the diversity of contemplative practices relevant to musicians.
Conference Presentation, 2016. “Contemplative Learning in the Bible Belt: Case Studies from Texas Tech University,” for Transforming higher Education: Fostering Contemplative Inquiry, Community, and Social Action, the 2016 national conference of the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA.
Conference Paper, 2016. “A Contemporary Pedagogy of “Ancient” Music: the ‘Vernacular Medieval’ and the Twenty-First-Century Conservatory, for the international conference Historical Performance: Theory, Practice, and Interdisciplinarity, held at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
Conference Presentation, 2015. “Making Music Together: Participatory Models for Community,” forBuilding Just Communities, the 2015 national conference of the Association for Contemplative Mind in Higher Education, Howard University, Washington, DC.
Presentation, 2013. “Cultivating Mindfulness in the Large Classroom.” Teaching, Learning, andProfessional Development Center, Texas Tech.