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Creativity Coming Alive:
Music, Movement, and Art-making in the Moment


For Thursday, May 12, 2022, let's play with the "Meeting in the Moment" model, developed by Clark Dollard and Marta Aarli

The basic form

We come into a room and set out musical instruments.  We gather and begin.  Whatever happens for the next hour and a half happens.  Then we talk a bit, pack up, and go home.


  • Stay as true as you can to what you are feeling in the moment, without needing anyone else to be a certain way so that you can be o.k. 

    • If you feel inclined to move, move.  If you want to make a sound, make a sound.  If you want to sit and be still, do that.

  • Keep the awareness that you are in a group.

    • This doesn’t mean that you have to do what everyone else is doing.  Some of the most interesting moments are created by contrast.  Rather, this means to keep an awareness of the group, its influence on you and your influence on it.

  • Avoid spoken language and stay out of the verbal realm.

    • Our society is heavily oriented towards language and ideas.  This is a chance to let go of all that and experience life more directly.

  • Allow silence and stillness to happen.

    • In doing this work, we found that “pieces” arise and conclude quite naturally.  The silence and stillness after a piece has concluded can be a bit uncomfortable at first, but allowing ourselves to be in the silence and stillness allows the group energy to settle and something new to arise.

  • Everyone is a dancer.  Everyone is a musician.

    • There is an African saying that, “If you can walk, you can dance.  If you can talk, you can sing.”  To this I would add that if you can clap your hands, you can play a drum, and that I have danced several times with people who could not walk and were sitting in chairs.  This isn’t about being “good.”  It’s about using movement and sound as ways of interacting with our fellow humans.

  • The music is created by the participants on acoustic instruments.

    • Sounds created by a physical action, not a speaker, feel different in the body.

  • Sometimes the dancers follow the music, and sometimes the musicians follow the dance.

    • Often, the dancers may start a piece by moving onto the floor in silence.  It is quite interesting to let the dance start, to feel the energy of the dancers, and to allow that to determine the nature of the music we create.

    • Sometimes, whole pieces may happen either in silence or with just vocalizations.

  • Participants are encouraged to move freely between the roles of musician, dancer, and witness.

    • Although some of us have spent years studying music or dance, there is something fresh and alive about someone with relatively little experience picking up a drum or walking out onto the floor.

    • Sitting and watching is fine, but if you do this you should not consider yourself as separate from the group, but rather participating as a witness.

  • Vocalizations such as scat singing, humming, or talking in gibberish are strictly encouraged.

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