Tag: deep listening

Lawrence University named first Deep Listening Affiliate Campus

A student participating in a Deep Listening retreat at Bjorklunden during the winter sits on a bench looking out at the lake.
A retreat held at Bjorklunden in late 2018 gave participants a chance to practice Deep Listening skills in nature.

Story by Ed Berthiaume / Communications

Lawrence University made a commitment nine years ago to embrace the practice of Deep Listening, a pledge to teach skills that improve the breadth and depth of one’s listening.

Now the school has earned the honor of becoming the first Deep Listening Affiliate Campus of the Center for Deep Listening at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

That’s a big deal, says Brian Pertl, dean of the Lawrence Conservatory of Music and a longtime proponent of the Deep Listening practices developed by the late American composer and musician Pauline Oliveros. He received notice of the new affiliation earlier this month.

“It’s a great honor for Lawrence,” Pertl said.

Deep Listening practices were first introduced in the conservatory, a process for students and faculty to immerse themselves more deeply in the music and movement of the arts. But it soon took root in other areas of campus life, being utilized in classrooms, at Bjorklunden retreats and in the programming offered through the Center for Spiritual and Religious Life.

“Deep Listening’s focus on attentive listening, mindfulness, creativity, and building community not only has been a positive enhancement to our world-class conservatory music training, but also allows our students who aren’t pursuing music degrees to explore immersive musical experiences,” Pertl said.

A student musician plays the violin during a concert at Lawrence.
Deep Listening at Lawrence was initially focused on music education in the Conservatory of Music but has since been expanded and embraced across the campus.

Pertl and Leila Pertl, an instructor in the Music Education Department, hold Deep Listening certifications and will be teaching a course, Deep Listening Lab, during spring term.

Leila Pertl is one of six instructors in the international Deep Listening Certification Program.

Lawrence has sent a summer intern to the Center for Deep Listening in Troy, New York, each of the past nine years, and will do so for a 10th time this summer.

For more on Deep Listening opportunities at Lawrence, click here

More photos from the Deep Listening retreat at Bjorklunden here

While much of the Deep Listening practices have been centered around music education in the conservatory, the practices have become part of other events and teachings across campus. It’s been embraced in the Office of Spiritual and Religious Life, where being fully present in the moment can be cathartic.

“The campus community has been fortunate to have Deep Listening as part of memorial services, as a way of centering in times of community distress, and as a place for rehumanizing ourselves with one another in times of disagreement,” said Linda Morgan-Clement, dean of Spiritual and Religious Life.

There is a student-led Deep Listening Club on campus that meets for weekly sessions and leads Deep Listening retreats to Bjorklunden in Door County.

Mary Simoni, dean of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at Rensselaer, said in a letter to Brian Pertl that the Center for Deep Listening was launching its affiliates program to honor those institutions that have embraced the teachings of Oliveros and to forge closer communications. It’s an acknowledgement of the “commitment” Lawrence has shown to embracing Oliveros’ vision, she wrote.

For the Pertls, it’s all part of the daily teachings at Lawrence.

“A dedication to improve the breadth and depth of one’s listening is at the core of Deep Listening practice,” Brian Pertl said. “Oliveros described Deep Listening as listening to all things at all times in every way possible. Deep Listening also includes attention to movement, and also sound created in one’s mind — sound in memory, dreams, or actively imagining sound.”

Lawrence music educators bring unique aspect to annual Mile of Music festival

Every music festival, of course, features lots of music. How many, though, have music education as a central part of its mission?

Thanks to the talents of a 25-member team of music educators, led by Leila Ramagopal Pertl and Brian Pertl, Appleton’s Mile of Music is one such festival.

Mile of Music gumbotting workshop
Leila Ramagopal Pertl (center) leads a gumbooting workshop, one of more than 40 music education events at the annual Mile of Music festival in downtown Appleton.

More than 40 hands-on music education workshops, ranging from Ghanaian drumming to ballet, will be conducted Aug. 3-6 during “Mile 5” of Appleton’s Mile of Music festival, a celebration of original, handcrafted artisan music. This year’s festival features nearly 900 live performances by more than 225 artists from 28 states and three countries representing virtually every music genre at 70 venues along College Avenue and the Fox River.

Beyond the concerts and artists featured at Mile of Music, as always, Mile 5 will feature plenty of hands-on, participatory music education events.

Ramagopal Pertl, a 1987 Lawrence graduate, is fond of calling music “a birthright.”

“Mile of Music is the only music festival in the country with a dedicated team of musicians to engage community in reigniting their musical birthright and to help them find ways throughout the year to develop this musicianship,” says Ramagopal Pertl, the music education curator for the four-day festival. “The music education component of Mile of Music is a fantastic opportunity for Lawrence University, teachers from the Appleton Area School District and our MET Kids to engage a multi-generational community in joyful and inspiring music-making. A musical community is a healthy community.”

Ramagopal Pertl’s enthusiasm is obvious when she talks about the results of past Mile of Music education workshops: the person who started playing an instrument again; the person who wrote their first song or formed a band, the person who discovered Irish dance and now is in their third full year of learning Irish dance, the person who produced their own CD of songs.

“The music education component of Mile of Music is a fantastic opportunity to engage a multi-generational community in joyful and inspiring music-making. A musical community is a healthy community.”
— Leila Ramagopal Pertl

“Those kinds of outcomes are our heart’s desire” said Ramagopal Pertl. “They are a powerful statement as to the importance of dynamic community music making.”

Brian Pertl, dean of Lawrence’s conservatory of music, joins his wife Leila in leading the music education team. He is excited about the expanded opportunities this year’s festival offers.

“Last year we debuted the P-bone jam, hip-hop workshops, the Building for Kids Immersive Music Day, vocal workshops, ukulele workshops, the NAMI Panel on the Power of Music and Mental Health and we expanded our deep listening activities,” said Pertl.

Mile of Music didjeridu workshop
A didjeridu workshop led by Brian Pertl, dean of the Lawrence conservatory of music, has been a staple of the music education program of the annual Mile of Music festival.

“We are thrilled to expand our offerings this year by adding mariachi, Afro-Cuban drumming and singing, and Recycled Rhythms: Creating Music with Found Objects,” Pertl added. “All of this is in addition to our traditional favorites like the Great Mile Sing Along, samba drumming, Balinese gamelan, instrumental workshops, song writing workshops, the all-inclusive community hand drum circle and singing story books. We can wait to make music with community members.”

Among the dedicated team of music educators assisting the Pertls are 16 workshop leaders with ties to Lawrence.

In addition to the education aspects of Mile of Music, Lawrence will be represented on the performance side. Among the groups performing, one group with a number of representatives is Porky’s Groove Machine.

An all Lawrence alumni band, Porky’s Groove Machine performs four times during the festival, including twice on the festival’s opening day — Thursday Aug. 3 at 10 p.m. on the Mile of Music bus and again at 11:50 p.p. at the Gibson Music Hall.

They return to the stage Friday Aug. 4 at 8:50 p.m. at the Radisson Paper Valley Grand Ballroom and Saturday Aug. 5 at 7:10 p.m. at The Alley Project.

About Lawrence University
Founded in 1847, Lawrence University uniquely integrates a college of liberal arts and sciences with a nationally recognized conservatory of music, both devoted exclusively to undergraduate education. It was selected for inclusion in the book “Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About College.”  Engaged learning, the development of multiple interests and community outreach are central to the Lawrence experience. Lawrence draws its 1,500 students from nearly every state and more than 50 countries.