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Grant Event: Pianists and the Brain – Part 1

April 13 @ 10:00 am - 3:00 pm

Presenter: Dr. Diane Baxter, NCTM
Presenting District: Rogue Valley

Program Description (Pianists and Brain, Saturday 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM):
How do we hear? What happens in the brain when we learn simple five finger patterns? What knowledge about brain function assists us as we learn new music? How do we process music? What does it mean “to know” a piece of music? How do we recall music? How does the athleticism of piano playing shape our behavior? This talk presents basic information about neurological functions from the performer’s point of view. It is a fascinating and diverse body of information.

Program Description (Stepping into the Light: Thoughts on Performance Anxiety, Saturday 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM):
“Why are my hands cold and clammy?” “Why is my heart pounding?” “Did you just say something to me?” “No, I can’t just relax!” Performance anxiety is a complex topic that involves how we think, how we feel, and how we behave. The results of it may range from mildly discomforting to completely paralyzing. We all want to get it right when it matters most, whether we are performers, family members, or teachers. All of us have something to gain by understanding what happens as we strive to excel. This talk will introduce some of the causes of performance anxiety, and will offer some tips on how to do your best under duress.

About the Presenter: Dr. Diane Baxter, NCTM, performs as a soloist, a chamber musician, and an orchestral pianist throughout the United States, in Canada, Japan and France. Her training is primarily from a long heritage of Hungarian piano teachers, including Bela Boszormenyi-Nagy and Gyorgy Sebok. Dr. Baxter has worked recently with British pianist Paul Roberts, London-based artist Charles Owen, and Washington DC’s Alon Goldstein. She is the Principal Keyboard Artist for the Newport Symphony Orchestra and has appeared as soloist with the Cascade Festival of Music Orchestra, the Western Oregon Symphony, the Newport Symphony Orchestra, and the Oregon Mozart Players. Dr. Baxter is currently Professor of Music at Western Oregon University where she has received the Faculty Honors Award for Outstanding Creativity and the Mario and Alma Pastega Award for Excellence in Teaching. She regularly teaches courses in Ethnomusicology, Graduate Research Methods, Performance Anxiety, and Studio Piano. Dr. Baxter’s article on music and the brain, “The Science of Artistry: The Fourth String,” was published in the international journal, Clavier Companion (November/December 2013). She is editor of The Oregon Musician, a journal for the Oregon Music Teachers Association. Dr. Baxter frequently gives workshops on performance anxiety for students and teachers, and adjudicates for piano competitions and festivals around the northwest. In March 2015 she served as principal adjudicator of 350 pianists and presenter of the keynote speech, “Stepping Into the Light: Advice for Performers,” for the Woodley Competition in England.


April 13
10:00 am - 3:00 pm
Event Category:


Catherine Rooney


Southern Oregon University Music Department Room 132
1250 Siskiyou Blvd
Ashland, OR 97520
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