The Callaway Lecture is one of the most prestigious events in the calendar of the School of Music at the University of Western Australia. Over the last two decades, a host of distinguished speakers have taken to the podium to deliver their thoughts on subjects as broad ranging as the effects of music on the mind, and the place of music in the arts. This year’s lecture will be delivered by Martyn Evans, Professor of Philosophy of Music in the Department of Music at Durham University, UK. His lecture is entitled ‘Music, embodiment and the imagination – for good or ill’. It is co-sponsored by the UWA Institute of Advanced Studies and supported by the UWA Medical Humanities Network.
Professor Evans’ talk will consider ways of exploring musical experience and music’s therapeutic possibilities. The predominant attempts to understand music-as-therapy – mostly within neuroscience, but among many practitioners as well – focus on ‘how it works’ rather than on why it could. This leads to reductionist accounts that seem to leave out what makes musical experience musical. An understanding of musical experience is needed that takes seriously the imagination and the will, as well as the body.
Professor Evans proposes that one way to approach this is to explore another side of musical experience – its sometimes intrusive, disruptive appearances, and the connection that these reveal between imagined sound, the sensations of bodily movement, restlessness and anxiety. This can lead to an alternative, more ‘existential,’ view of music-as-therapy whereby musical experience, operating through the imagination, recalls our sense of our ‘pre-morbid states’ – in other words, how we felt before we were ill – offering us both consolation and reassurance. He will argue that in the process, it may be that we do more justice not only to music-as-therapy but to musical experience in general.
The talk will take place on Wednesday 19 October at 7pm, in the Callaway Music Auditorium, UWA. Entry is free, but please RSVP. Refreshments will be available from 6.15pm. For any further details, please see here.