NEW TOOLS FOR LANGUAGE AND LEARNING:
A Proposal by Mardi Ellen Hill
As founder of my own company, MEH MULTIMEDIA LLC, I have had a unique and wonderful opportunity to explore the magic of music, technology and language, and to observe the transformative and healing effect music has in the lives of all people, no matter their age, their gender, or their level of musical expertise.
We never really think of music as something that is always present even in silence. But music is a realm of experience, an ever present information highway of neuronal signals that create a rolling language map that can be logged onto, in much the same way that we log onto the internet -- IF we have the right tools and mechanisms to get us aboard!
Recalling the famed Oliver Sachs and his book The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, we remember the music teacher who kept track of his activities and invoked his memory by the songs he made for each activity. His songs kept him company and guided him in his life by creating a road map of musical duration by which he instinctively knew when to do what. He was relatively happy in that world. To unravel what that kind of musical map means to the rest of the world, however, requires a quantum leap for those who do not consciously “live” in music. We require new tools to use music’s magic to access both the gifted and the impaired child's universe.
My own experience in school, a safe haven in my own childhood, led me to the formation of my company and the building of my ”music diary " road map paradigm, and created in me a wealth of ideas and measures for direct application into the child's world.
The following is a proposal for workshops and lectures, leading to an educational book series. The presentation model includes a tool chest of user products, developed by my company, intended to aid trainers in their mission to leave no child behind in the 21st century.
As an initial presentation, I have geared this proposal specifically to the eye and ear of trainers who teach children categorized within the spectrum of autistic behaviors. The proposal focuses on the child's ability to function successfully and happily in the school environment where there are daily expectations of time, work product and peer relationships.
A Music Diary Voyage, the Creator’s Mission
Music’s neuronal signals provide the child with a model to decrypt his/her own unique “time signature” of how the child experiences duration. In order to help the child integrate and comply with external signals, we must understand what sound, word and duration mean to each child.
Accessing music in my paradigm, Auditory Imprinting Pictorial Template TM , allows the trainer to unfold a Helen Keller world that makes sound and word understandable from the inside out. The template gives a map of response time by which the child can indicate to us where he or she places value and meaning by tone within frames of time. The map reveals where in his/her world a child automatically makes correlations around the significance of specific sequences of sound.
As a child slowly becomes familiar with his/her own identification and notation signature of sound, the pictorial imprint manifests as the child's orchestration of how s/he feels about and envision each day, week, month, etc. The imprint reveals who and what the child incorporates and includes in that world; and how far or near to self the child experiences "control" and power over objects and people in this world. The child also freely imagines the response of objects and people in relation to the child’s self.
Once this road map is established, then habits about time can be reassembled within a group dynamic. The child's unique imprint must be the initializing universe upon which the trainer can then build a group dynamic that answers to the needs of several children who will benefit by moving forward in an ensemble group.
Both challenged children and those who teach them desperately need access to speech and movement that are not easily understood, like the unique inner dialogue of an autistic child. Music as a proactive tool stands foremost in decrypting the world within.
Meet the Creator:
A Brief Biography of Mardi Ellen Hill
Mardi-Ellen Hill is the managing member and founder, with John S. Nuveen, of MEH MULTIMEDIA LLC, a cross media entertainment and technology enterprise focusing on new ideas in music. Ms Hill won a 2002/03/04 award from ASCAP for her music invention. She has received two awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and an Anette Kade Fulbright Grant as well as funding from numerous other private and international sources.
A graduate of Bard College, Ms. Hill completed graduate work at the Longy School of Music. She taught at New York University, where she developed and added a syllabus course entitled: "The Language of Sound in Relation to the Dance Form". She also taught at LIU, and Marymount Manhattan College. She has lectured at Bard and Mount Holyoke Colleges, as well as the State University of New York at Stoneybrook. She received several international commissions, including being the first woman commissioned by the Group Musiques de Vivantes in Lyon, France, the French Consulate, the Canadian Consulate General and the Royal Bank of Canada. She has served as judge and panelist in several state, national, and international competitions. Most recently, she served as Executive Producer of a highly acclaimed music series at Plymouth Church of the Pilgrims, Brooklyn Heights.
Ms. Hill, who is represented by Creative Artists Agency, is the creator of the SPELL OF VAUGIRARD, a multiplatform franchise (script/book series/mmo game) that has a music driven story as its narrative force. The SPELL OF VAUGIRARD story breaks new ground by creating an integrated system that connects the story (book bible) throughout all the divisions of the franchise. Funding history is available upon request.
Praise for Vaugirard
Peter Goodman of Newsday described the music of her work Vaugirard, or Odette’s Ascent to the Throne, as “unabashedly lyrical…informed in places by the cunning simplicity of Phillip Glass and elsewhere by post romantic sentiment”. He called the text “telegraphic and allusive; expressive of love and betrayal”. Iris Fanger of the Boston Herald, in describing Vaugirard, says, “I loved it immediately, and I can think of a dozen ways to stage Vaugirard because its qualities are visual, sensual, and subtextual, as well as being music that I enjoy for just listening. I was struck by the evocative quality of her music and the sense of new viewpoint.” Bruno Palmer-Poroner of Artspeak says “something has already been said about the unique talent of the creator; she possesses a relentless, even ruthless, power of organization. Hill is a born musician who began to compose at a very early age; she writes music as a painter paints. Upon listening one can literally ‘see’ the music, making it excellent for opera.”
The Street Where You Live:
Application of the Auditory Imprinting Pictorial Template TM
Scene: a darkened theater, where a performance of Lerner and Lowe’s brilliant My Fair Lady is occurring. Onstage, Freddy is singing as he walks down a street of old stone houses, each with its many stories. He is in love with Eliza Doolittle. He sings:
I have often walked down this street before;
But the pavement always stayed beneath my feet before.
All at once am I several stories high.
Knowing I'm on the street where you live…
In the middle of that third line, “my” voice as performer makes an octave jump. It is exactly there that “my” voice (as singer) and “your” voice (as audience) make contact in both the musical and the real time realms.
The pivotal spot appears to be instant but is really an elevator jump of stories that takes "Freddy's voice" to Eliza Doolittle's voice and presence. It is a big global ride through the complete musical constellation of harmonic tones, before the contact is made. It FEELS like an instantaneous quantum leap; when indeed his voice takes a huge trip around the musical universe/auditorium/his body until his singing voice LANDS and meets the imagined desired Eliza as well as the real time “you" wherever you are in the audience. Freddy makes contact with "you" and makes you feel included in the circle of Freddy's 'in house" stories of his musical context, as if you were singled out to hear this tone ring in your heart and mind.
Anywhere along the musical way, depending on the acoustics and your personal ability to follow the melodic voice leading path of the tune, is the moment “you” will experience Freddie's voice reaching your being and heart. If several people were asked when that exact moment occurs when Freddie's "I" jumps several stories and meets Eliza’s linear melodic street, each person would experience differently where in the non-linear musical constellation (set of intervals) the hidden chord "event" happened. Though the difference may be only a nanosecond, each one will find a comfort level, find the street, at a slightly different moment and will add it to pre-existing memory of other sounds in an idiosyncratic way.
Those with fast synthesis will fill in the blanks of the rest of the tune, even having heard it only once before, as the "voice leading" (the musical grammar and syntax) in the melodic line is projecting where you need to log on to the melody. The process is like hopping onto a moving train: only at the places where the cars allow entrance can one get aboard!
That moment of synthesis reveals the meaning of duration, a ratio of interaction that spells out the rate at which “you” in “my” audience internalize sound, interpret meaning, and convert it into language that "I" understand. The ratio also shows how far “I” extend the boundaries of what I believe is "my" audience. To accomplish this task well, “I” need to test that projection and rehearse it.
A complete roll out of meaning happens once someone defines where tone meets syllable and thought, to become what is memorable and heard as melody.
That spot of logging on is the defining moment in time when "I" am able to "place" your voice and put it in my memory for later unearthing and using to equate meaning to other transactions. It is what the child learns from the mother and father as the meaning of home.
Challenged children have as much access to this process as anyone else, but their "STORIES" need to be unraveled before we can know where they hear their unique imprinting configuration of the melodic phrase.
Music Places Us in
Scene: a classroom, where the need is to understand and teach language formation for children who have disorders characterized as autism. The above understanding teaches language through the body as an orchestra that unfolds a theme all through the day. The musical method has a periodic rate that shows how children hear a theme at different intervals, meaning one child's beginning of the day or sentence or word or syllable, is not another's. Once a child's beginning motif is found, the rest of the language usually falls into place.
Understanding the process is a relatively big job. It means unfolding the child’s syntax in a picture that builds their home in relation to other environments and lets the child place objects and people and things, and designate meaning, through musical syllables that forms a sentence. The sentence becomes a melody, but it is not linear.
The picture builds perspectives by drawing the equivalent of a musical score that can travel with the child like a diary. The picture changes as the week progresses and shows habitual patterns that usually correct themselves once the patterns are established.
At the point when the patterns are revealed, the child usually determines that there is "room" enough in space/time to transpose the pattern to another part of the house/picture. This process of anticipation and reward gives a musical time signature that tells the rate at which the child can synthesize information comfortably and ratchet up to the next level of language proficiency. In this way children learn about their own habits and learn how to reinforce good habits within their own time duration paradigm, as they learn how to expand their language bases.
Overall, these children, who previously were difficult to reach and who gave no indication of a sense of “school” time, are building contexts; and they are learning to integrate their worlds with the worlds of others.
The revolutionary AIPT TM model is best learned usi9ng an intensive, weekend long entry-level workshop taught by the Creator, Ms. Hill.
This weekend will include:
- Orientation. Ms. Hill and workshop participants will learn each other’s backgrounds, and will develop a shared base of knowledge from which to proceed.
- Lecture. Ms. Hill will introduce the basic paradigm of music language knowledge, and will present and define terms that teacher/trainers need to know to begin to work with the children in this paradigm.
- Demonstration of company tools to implement the paradigm.
- Application. Teacher/trainers will begin to set up diary formats.
- Follow up summary: Trial run of auditory sound data input.
At the end of the workshop participants will have mastered basic skills to decrypt the world of the child, using the child’s own orchestration map.
As an added bonus, Ms. Hill will present an informal demonstration detailing how her company’s tool chest (music and other products) arose from the fictional model, The Spell of Vaugirard.