Music, Mind and Motion


Fall 2013 and Winter 2014 quarters

Taught by

literature, dance, performance, cultural studies

Have you ever felt that your mind and your body were just “out of sync”? How about the other experience—when your mind and body were working together flawlessly—when you felt “in the flow”? These kinds of experiences invite other questions about the relation between the mind and the body, questions that have been the focus of thinking and research in cultures around the world. There is, for examples, a tradition in Western philosophy that has emphasized the separation between the mind and the body. Other traditions emphasize mind/body interaction and unity. Does the mind control the body? Or is it the other way round? What can we learn about these questions if we challenge ourselves to use our bodies to interact precisely and skillfully with others?  This is the kind of thing people do when they learn to move together in dance, to raise their voices in song, or to make music together.

This program will explore the connections between the mind and the body through the media of music and dance. We will learn about the scientific investigation of the interaction between mind and body, especially in connection with the kinds of social activities that bring people together in communities of artistic endeavor—for example, a jazz band or dance group. We will examine both Eastern and Western philosophical traditions to see what we can learn about different ways of understanding the relationship between the mind and body as manifested in disciplines of motion and rest.  We will also engage in practice involving music and dance, experiencing first hand the unity of thought and action.

The work of the program will include readings about music and dance from a variety of cultures as well as philosophical and scientific texts. The philosophical texts deal with the relationship between the mind and the body; the scientific texts provide information about brain function and what neuroscience can teach us about how the mind and body interact in music and dance. Students will write essays on the weekly readings in preparation for seminar discussions and a final research paper. They will also participate in workshop activities learning musical and dance skills. During the fall quarter the workshop emphasis was on building skills. At the end of fall quarter students, working in groups, created scripts of performance pieces combining music and dance. During winter our attention in the workshops will be directed toward developing those scripts into fully realized music and dance performances for presentation to an audience in the 9 th week of the quarter.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

performing arts, humanities, cultural studies, and human services.

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day


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Online Learning

No Required Online Learning: No access to web tools required. Any web tools provided are optional for students.

Required Fees

$50 per quarter for admission to music and dance performances.


Date Revision
June 7th, 2013 This program now accepts sophomores.
March 21st, 2013 New program added.

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Fall); 16 (Winter)

Class standing: Freshmen–Sophomore; 50% of the seats are reserved for freshmen

Maximum enrollment: 40


Course Reference Numbers

Fr (16 credits): 10255
So (16 credits): 10368

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Accepting New Students

Course Reference Numbers

Fr (16 credits): 20208
So (16 credits): 20259

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