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Andrew Goldman: The Neuroscience of Musical Improvisation

  • Saint Luke's School 487 Hudson Street New York, NY, 10014 United States (map)

Andrew Goldman, Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience, Columbia University

Watch the livestream here. 

Suggested Donation: $10

"In this talk, I will present an overview of work on the neuroscience of musical improvisation. I discuss what this work contributes to an understanding of improvisation, and also offer cautions against over-interpretations of the data. I present two recent experiments I have conducted. The first examines differences in the way experienced improvisers categorize musical structures. Different ways of organizing knowledge may facilitate the ability to improvise. The second study concerns improvising dancers. We showed that experienced Contact Improvising dancers show stronger signs of motor simulation while observing others moving. I interpret these findings within a broader framework I have developed for conducting scientific work on improvisation."

Andrew Goldman is a cognitive musicologist from San Diego, CA.  He completed his PhD in 2015 at the University of Cambridge with Prof. Ian Cross on the cognition of musical improvisation. He is currently a Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience at Columbia University, and an Assistant Adjunct Professor in the music department. His current work focusses on developing theories of improvisation that are compatible with explanatory frameworks from cognitive science and neuroscience. He also conducts EEG experiments to test these theories. His work has been published in music theory and music psychology journals. Andrew also co-organizes Columbia’s Embodied Cognition Reading Group and the Comparing Domains of Improvisation discussion group. Andrew is also a concert pianist and composer. In 2014, Andrew’s original musical “Science! The Musical” was premiered in Cambridge, UK.

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