Volume 5 (1) 2013 – Article
Emotion, Embodied Mind and the Therapeutic Aspects of Musical Experience in Everyday Life
Dylan van der Schyff
The capacity for music to function as a force for bio-cognitive organisation is considered in clinical and everyday contexts. Given the deeply embodied nature of such therapeutic responses to music, it is argued that cognitivist approaches may be insufficient to fully explain music’s affective power. Following this, an embodied approach is considered, where the emotional-affective response to music is discussed in terms of primary bodily systems and the innate cross-modal perceptive capacities of the embodied human mind. It is suggested that such an approach may extend the largely cognitivist view taken by much of contemporary music psychology and philosophy of music by pointing the way towards a conception of musical meaning that begins with our most primordial interactions with the world.
music therapy; music and meaning; embodied cognition; music and emotions; embodied aesthetics; music in everyday life
Dylan van der Schyff received his MA in Liberal Studies from Simon Fraser University (Vancouver, Canada) and is currently engaged in graduate studies in music psychology at the University of Sheffield (UK). His research focuses on the nature of musical meaning at the intersection of biology, culture and lived experience. As a performer (drums/percussion) and producer, van der Schyff has appeared on close to 100 recordings spanning the genres of jazz, electro-acoustic, improvised, experimental and new music. Van der Schyff teaches music at Capilano University and gives courses in contemporary culture at Vancouver Community College.