Between the Notes

an eighth-note rest

The pauses between the notes—-ah, that is where art resides.’   –Arthur Schnabel, musician

My work with music…..has taught me the deepest respect for the emptiness between the notes.  It is silence that actually gives life to sound.’    –Jane Lowey, choral director

Stanford School of Medicine neuroscientists studied what the brain does when a person listens to symphonies. Senior author, Vinod Menon, reported that during  one-to-two second breaks between symphonic movements, brain activity increased. ‘The pause itself becomes the event,’ he explained, ‘a pause is not a time when nothing happens.’

I couldn’t have said it better myself.  The Pause,* an Alexander Technique practice, stops habitual use, thus creating the conditions for change in the psycho-physical Self.    And all this is possible without doing anything.  ‘The pause itself becomes the event.’  A flurry of brain-business can ensue when we get out of the way, and give ourselves a rest.  One or two seconds will do.

*See blog post, ‘Errands With the Alexander Technique,’ for a definition of The Pause.

Thanks to Anne D. LeClaire, author of Listening Below the Noise, for the quotes and Stanford study synopsis.





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s