Episode 129: Channeling Emotional Contagion with Dr. Gary Seighman

There is an often felt, but rarely quantified sense within ensemble music experiences that something truly MAGICAL is happening that changes us profoundly. However, recent
scientific discoveries (link to sources below) are adding a more concrete validity to that which experienced musicians already intuitively know. Studies that reveal the physiological and psychological processes of cooperative effort, especially musical collaboration. The implications of these ideas are beginning to shape our very definition of “ensemble,” while providing new understandings of the benefits of group musical expression on the individual. Dr. Gary Seighman joins me to make some truly crucial observations about our art form and the human instrument.

“Presently, topics pertaining to musical perception and creativity are highly popular in neuroscience research. A major development in the field was the proposing of a human mirror neuron system. After the discovery in rhesus monkeys of “mirror neurons” that fire during both action and observation of motor behavior, scientists detected a similar working system in the fronto-parietal region of humans.” -From Gary’s related Choral Journal Article


Gary Seighman is Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Trinity University in San Antonio, TX where he oversees a comprehensive choral program and teaches courses in conducting and music education. Under his direction, Trinity’s choral ensembles have garnered regional and national accolades with invited performances at conferences including TMEA, the College Music Society, the National Collegiate Choral Organization, frequent international touring, and most recently, 3rd place for the 2022 The American Prize Competition as the smallest university in the country among the finalists. Recent professional engagements include Nashville, New York City, Taipei, Vienna, London, and Dublin. Dr. Seighman holds degrees from Westminster Choir College, the University of Oklahoma, and the University of Maryland. His wife, Dr. Jennifer Seighman, is also a choral conductor and they have 2 children, Justin and Gabrielle.

YouTube Channel

For more on this topic from Gary, visit Forward Motion

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