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This welcoming of the newborn as a person with intelligence and sociable impulses confirmed the parents’ belief that they could communicate feelings and interests by responding to their baby’s exquisitely timed looks, smiles, hand gestures and cooing with their own exquisitely timed gestures of voice and body. As Brazelton declared in Margaret Bullowa’s book, “The old model of thinking of the newborn infant as helpless and ready to be shaped by his environment prevented us from seeing his power as a communicant in the early mother-father-infant interaction. To see the neonate as chaotic or insensitive provided us with the capacity to see ourselves as acting ‘on’ rather than ‘with’ him” (Brazelton, 1979, p.79). Musicking is knowing bodies coming alive in the sounds they make. Scores and other tools that record the product of musicking, performed or imagined, aid the retention of ideas, as semantics of language does, and they serve discussion and analysis – but they are not the same as the breathing, moving, embodied experience of human musicking . We present a view that places our ability to create and appreciate music at the center of what it means to be human.

These interactions were characterized by a sort of delighted, ritualized courtesy and more or less sustained attention and mutual gaze. Many of the vocalizations were of types not described in the acoustic literature on infancy, since they were very brief and faint, and yet were crucial parts of the jointly sustained performances.” (Bateson, 1979, p. 65). Then René Spitz and Bowlby revealed the devastating effects on a child’s emotional well-being of separation from maternal care in routine hospital care with nursing directed only to respond to those reflex demands. Spitz observed that babies develop smiling between 2 and 5 months to regulate social contacts , and he went on to study the independent will of the baby to regulate engagements of care or communication, by nodding the head for ‘yes’ or shaking for ‘no’ . Goodrich , in her appreciation of the contribution of neuroscientists Llinás and Buzsáki to the science of the mind for skilled movement, cites Llinás’ evidence on the role of intuitive structural ‘rules,’ seen also in a musical performance.

Problems from introducing an emphasis on enforced cultural learning too early are demonstrated by Bjørkvold who studied the musical games of children in Oslo, Moscow, St Petersburg, and Los Angeles where educational, cultural, social and political practices are very different. In all three countries children showed spontaneous musicality, but in the nations of Russia and the US, where formal training in music was given greater value than it was in Norway, he found reduced spontaneous music making. He insists, “It is critically important for children to master spontaneous singing, for it is part of the common code of child culture that gives them a special key to expression and human growth” (Bjørkvold, 1992, p. 63). A comparable inhibitory effect of conventions of schooling has been recorded on the spontaneous expression of religious feelings and spirituality in the early years . These innate sources of human imagining in collaborative, moral ways give value and meaning to the later cultivation of advanced cultural ideas and skills (Valiente et al., 2012). Although blind, Maria knows the feelings of anticipated movement of her hand, and uses them to sense and share the human vitality dynamics in her mother’s voice.

Following his teacher Hutcheson , he believed that ethics are based on feelings rather than abstract moral principles. “The distinctive educational and developmental potential of music lies, I submit, in dynamic, bodily, and social natures, and distinctly ethical, responsive, and responsible kinds of know-how these afford. Practical knowledge is action embedded knowledge, quite distinct from theoretical knowledge and technical know-how. It is a kind of character-based sense of how best to proceed in situations where best courses of action cannot be determined by previous ones. This ability to discern the right course of action in novel, dynamic situations is precisely the kind of human asset required in today’s rapidly changing world.

Any attempt to understand how human life has evolved its unique cultural habits needs to start with observing what infants know and can do. Organisms regulate the development of their lives by growing structures and processes from within their vitality, by autopoiesis that requires anticipation of adaptive functions. And they must develop and protect their abilities in response to environmental affordances and dangers, with consensuality (Maturana and Varela, 1980; Maturana et al., 1995). Infants are ready for human cultural invention and collaboration as newly hatched birds are ready for flying – within ‘the biology of love’ (Maturana and Varela, 1980; Maturana and Verden-Zoller, 2008). All organisms reach out in time and space to make use of the ‘affordances’ for thought and action .

Where the infant does participate , the infant appears to be setting up the possibility for a dialog – vocalizing exactly on the ‘bar-line’ and then around the mother’s pitch . Indeed, the infant’s vocalizations persuade the mother out of her repetitiveness – the mother momentarily takes notice of her infant and responds to her infant’s conversational offering by ceasing her unresponsive repetition and vocalizing once more at the infant’s pitch. But the dialog almost immediately breaks down, and the mother returns to her stereotypical, repetitive vocal gesturing. “For an infant to enter into the sharing of meaning he has to be in communication, which may be another way of saying sharing rhythm…. The problem is how two or more organisms can share innate biological rhythms in such a way as to achieve communication which can permit transmission of information they do not already share.” (Bullowa, 1979, p. 15, italics added).