Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience, Columbia University
How do people improvise? What is improvisation? I am developing a cognitive-scientific experimental research paradigm to help consider these questions. Looking at 'what' people play in terms of formal musical structures like notes and chords can potentially confound different processes that led to the creation of those structures. Different musicians have learned to play music differently, and a given musician may have multiple strategies depending on the context of the performance. There are different ways of knowing about music, different ways to know how to play music. Some of these ways probably correspond to what is commonly understood as improvisation. Cognitive-science is well equipped to consider questions about ways of knowing. My intention is to characterize these different modes of performance by initially considering distinctions between improvisation and memorized performance, and distinctions between improvisational strategies, but ultimately by redrawing lines around different modes of performance based on cognitive-scientific theories and evidence.
Andrew joined the Centre for Music and Science in 2010 as an MPhil student and successfully completed his PhD in 2015. He is a member of Wolfson College. Otherwise, he is a pianist and composer performing in Cambridge as a soloist, concerto soloist, chamber musician, and choir accompanist (Wolfson College Choir and Kings' Junior Voices). In 2014, his one-act musical entitled "Science! The Musical" for which he wrote the music, lyrics, and book was performed in Cambridge for a run of five performances at the Corpus Playroom (further details available upon request). Andrew is now a Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience at Columbia University.
Before coming to Cambridge, Andrew received a BM in Piano Performance and a BA in Neuroscience from the University of Southern California. He has studied piano with Profs Mitzi Kolar and Daniel Pollack, composition with Prof Erica Muhl, and clarinet with Charlie Ellis-MacLeod. After graduating, he worked at the Brain and Creativity Institute in Los Angeles researching the neuroscience of social emotions with Profs Mary Helen Immordino-Yang and Antonio Damasio. Just before coming to Cambridge, Andrew taught at the Brevard Music Center in North Carolina.
Departments and Institutes
Goldman, A. (2013). Towards a cognitive–scientific research program for improvisation: Theory and an experiment. Psychomusicology: Music, Mind, and Brain, 23(4), 210.