The new season of Categorically Not! starts up on Sunday. This one is entitled Song and is all about song. There’s more on series creator K. C. Cole’s site about the events, and you’ll find there that her event description is:
Birds do it, whales do it, most people do it. We sing out. It’s a magical thing. Song has extraordinary power to move us—to make us feel sad or happy or in the mood to mate. But what exactly makes the magic work? How does music effect our brains? What makes it come out of our mouths in so many different forms and what separates the shower singers from Maria Callas or Ice Cube? Why do people who sing well fill us with such admiration and affection?
We’ll have a pass at all of these on September 19, when Categorically Not! starts singing.
We’ll start with a classically trained vocalist from USC’s Thorton School of Music who turned to, yes, neuroscience to figure out exactly how honing such skills changes our brains. Now in her fourth year of graduate study at USC’s Brain and Creativity Institute, PhD candidate Meghen Miles will tell us about her research into the effects of conservatory education on the anatomy of the brains of undergraduate music majors compared to undergraduate architecture majors. Her work illuminates the surprising plasticity of the brain: Practice appears to make lasting anatomical changes.
Song involves more than mindware, of course. Crooning and belting alike require carefully choreographed air flows, tissue vibration and shaping of air cavities. Making this corporal choreography visible is the specialty of Krishna Nayak, an Associate Professor of Engineering from the USC’s Viterbi School. Using real time MRI “movies” of professional singers, Krishna will compare sopranos, rappers and more, and tell us how he gets his remarkable pictures. These state of the art imaging techniques have many applications, including medical diagnoses and speech therapy.
And now for the appreciation and applause part of the program. We’ll have two songs from Pat Whiteman, who recently performed to standing-room-only audiences in Hollywood with her new show “The Mood I’m In.” She teaches at UCLA performing arts, and is a graduate of the Cabaret Conference at Yale. Following Pat, we have professional actor/singers, Kristin Iazzetta, Rachel Avery, Matthew Elkins, Tracie Lockwood, and Michael Redfield on keyboard. All are members of the Pacific Resident Theater and The Rogue Machine. They’ve performed together in plays and theatre cabarets.
It is held over in the Santa Monica Art Studios at 6:00pm for 6:30pm. Go to the site for more event information. Search by clicking here for posts and sometimes descriptions of previous Categorically Not! events.
Some Related Asymptotia Posts (not exhaustive):
- Categorically Not! - Imagine
- Categorically Not! - Grand Challenges!
- Categorically Not! - The Worlds We Make Up
- Categorically Not! - Awesome
- I See Book People
- Categorically Not! - Doing Darwin Differently
- Categorically Not! - Dark Matters
- Categorically Not! - Improv!
- Categorically Not! - Entanglement
- Monsters, Etc
- Bubbles Galore!
- Bubble Magic!
- Categorically Not! - Bubbles
- Salman Rushdie on Song
- Unambiguously Good
- Categorically Not! - Ambiguity
- The LA Times Book Festival
- Categorically Not! - Loops
- Festival of Books
- Categorically Not! - Puzzles!
- Categorically Not! - Science Goes Hollywood
- Categorically Not! - Beginnings
- Remembering Bob Miller
- Really Excellent
- Inside Out from the Inside
- Inside Out
- Categorically Not! - Inside Out
- Categorically Not! - Small Differences
- Categorically Not! - Mistakes!
- Categorically Not! - Recycling
- Point of View, II - The Event
- Point of View, II
- Categorically Not! - Vulgarization
- Point of View, I
- Categorically Not! - Movement
- A University of Wonderful Things
- Categorically Not! - Apocalypse!
- The Stampede
- Visions and Voices