What happens when you let the students program the concert?

On second thought

Jonah Lehrer writes about how emotional decision-making may be better than rational decision-making when faced with complex choices.

While there is an extensive literature on the potential wisdom of human emotion, it’s only in the last few years that researchers have demonstrated that the emotional system (aka Type 1 thinking) might excel at complex decisions, or those involving lots of variables. If true, this would suggest that the unconscious is better suited for difficult cognitive tasks than the conscious brain, that the very thought process we’ve long disregarded as irrational and impulsive might actually be “smarter” than reasoned deliberation. 

I've exprienced this on occasion. When I was studying Schubert's Unfinished a while back there were a couple of sections where I was torn between 'fidelity to the score' and traditional practice - trying to reconcile Schubert's notation with the varied and sometimes wonderful ways it has been interpreted. Listening to the recordings today I feel that the choices I thought the hardest about and struggled the most with were poor ones.

But how does this fit into the greater life-long learning experience? Do we always want to make the right decisions? The next time I conduct the piece I'm going to benefit tremendously from the mistakes I made the last time around. I guess it depends on the situation; hopefully I'll be conducting the Unfinished more often than buying a car.




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