UC San Diego's Department of Music

November 05, 2012

  Cognitive scientist and musician Linda Kaastra gives a special lecture on Nov. 6 at 4 pm at Conrad Prebys Music Center (Room 231) titled A Conceptual Framework for the Study of Creativity in Music Performance. Kaastra is a visiting scholar at UC San Diego. Her presentation to Nancy's Guy's Integrative Studies class is open to the public.

In the Western Art Music tradition, composing and performing music are often viewed as separate activities. Creativity is considered the domain of the composer and reproduction the domain of the performer. While these distinctions hold in some situations, they do not account for the role performance plays in generating a new musical work, nor do they account for the creative aspects of performing music.
Through examples drawn from performance data and personal experience, Kaastra shows how an understanding of the structure of tacit knowledge can help us analyze what is creative in musical activity. Creativity is viewed as a process of connecting aspects of the performance in ways that makes the music "come alive" or "say something meaningful". In order to understand creativity in music making, we need concepts that allow us to label musical activity, unpack the target of focal awareness, and identify which aspects in subsidiary awareness combine to create meaning in performance. This research forms a bridge between science and performance, generating knowledge and theory on the performance of music while adding to scientific theory on the fundamental mechanisms of human interaction.

Kaastra is a bassoonist, academic writing teacher, and cognitive scientist. She specializes in observational research on the performance of contemporary Western Art Music. She earned a BMUS in bassoon performance from the University of British Columbia (1990), an MMUS in bassoon performance from Yale University School of Music (19Γ), and a PhD in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of British Columbia (Thesis title: "Systematic Approaches to the Study of Cognition in Western Art Music Performance" (2008)). Through her research, she is committed to defining, articulating, and exploring the practical knowledge and research perspectives of instrumentalists. Her interests include how performers manage joint attention in rehearsal and performance; how the specific demands of musical works constrain the cognitive processes of ensemble performance; the interplay of anticipated vs. emergent actions in music performance; creativity and collaboration in music; the fundamental mechanisms of human interaction. 

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