Sunday, March 15, 2015

Musical Experiences for the Senses

Have you been to Disney World and gone to the "Honey I Shrunk the Kids!" show?

During the show, at precise times, something occurs that affects those seated in the audience.

I remember the blowing of large fans when it was to be windy.

I remember the flash of light - like the flash on a camera - to mimic lightning.

I remember most the scurry about my ankles and feet when there were rats on the screen.

Followed by shrieks of some audience members.

It seemed very real and expanded the normal audience experience by involving the senses.

This is called "Immersive Theater."


Now imagine a music program that does something similar.  I recently read the following:

Those in the audience were blindfolded and fed different sensory experiences in parallel with the music: fizzy pop and cola bottles for the effervescent second movement and fingers scampering up your arms in tandem with the first violin, then as the music changed, a scent-soaked silk scarf flickering across your skin, and hands laid on to give a sensation of pressure or relaxation.
 [The Guardian]
This could be called an "Immersive Concert."

How cool would that be?
How eerie would that be?

The music director in me imagines the nightmare the logistics that would be involved.

However, I believe it could be doable.

Involving students in the planning would help them delve more deeply into the music instead of just performing it.

Making the students think about the affective aspect of musical works takes their musical thinking and understanding to a whole different level. 


Starting small scale with a small performance ensemble (those not performing could do the interactions with the audience) and a small audience.

Musical selections would be important.

Knowing the music would be important.

It could be billed as an "Evening of Musical Experiences for the Senses."

It would be a collaborative event. Totally different from what normally exists between performers and audience.

I believe it would be an unforgettable event for all involved.

Oh, and I would FOR SURE want to video tape the audiences responses to the entire event.  

That in itself would probably provide a good many laughs as well as an understanding watching the audience physical/sensual responses to the music.

Anyway, something to think about when wanting something innovative for a music program.

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