ASA welcomed Dr. Molly Gebrian to teach a class for teachers and parents on September 26 on Zoom. The class was entitled “What Musicians Can Learn About Practicing From Current Brain Research.”
What Musicians Can Learn About Practicing From Current Brain Research
This presentation focused on what neuroscientists have discovered about how our brains learn and how to apply these insights to practicing and teaching so that practicing becomes more efficient and effective, leading to enhanced performance ability, enjoyment, and confidence. Topics included: how to get rid of bad habits, how to make things automatic/reliable, the role of sleep in learning, the power of mental practicing, how to use the metronome to greatest effect, and the benefits of random practice for enhanced performance.
Violist Molly Gebrian has distinguished herself as an outstanding performer, teacher, and scholar throughout the US and Europe. Her love of contemporary music has led her to collaborate with many composers, often in premieres of works written for her. She has worked closely with the Ensemble Intercontemporain and Pierre Boulez for performances at the Lucerne Festival and she spent the 2011/2012 academic year in Paris to undertake an intensive study of contemporary music with violist/composer Garth Knox. Her other principal teachers include Peter Slowik, Carol Rodland, and James Dunham. Molly completed her Doctor of Musical Arts in viola performance from Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and also holds graduate degrees in viola performance from the New England Conservatory of Music, and Bachelors degrees from Oberlin College and Conservatory of Music, in both viola performance and neuroscience. She served as the Assistant Director for two interdisciplinary conferences on music and the brain while at Rice, has published papers dealing with music and neuroscience in the Journal of the American Viola Society, Frontiers in Psychology, Flute Talk Magazine, and The Strad. Her background in neuroscience gives her unique insight into how the brain learns and how musicians can best use this information to their advantage in the practice room. Given this expertise, she is a frequent presenter on topics having to do with music and neuroscience at conferences and universities in the US and abroad. During the summer, she is on faculty at the National Music Festival and Montecito International Music Festival, and has also taught at the Sewanee Summer Music Festival. After teaching for five years at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, she joined the faculty at the Fred Fox School of Music at the University of Arizona in the fall of 2019.
Pictures from the Sept 26, 2020 class.