Researcher Edwin Gordon (1927-2015) coined the word “audiation.” It refers to the capacity and ability to listen and understand music mentally without the actual sound being present, using only our imagination. We could say that it is an idea that starts from the “internal listening,” but goes beyond pitches, rhythms, dynamics, and timbres. It is interested in breathing spots, the exact sound of vowels and consonants, the small and large-scale phrasing up to the nature and emotion of each work. We look for the most detailed picture of the way we want the work we are going to practice with the choir to sound like.
Professor Vallée tried some exercises aimed at increasing the conductor’s awareness of all these aspects with the attendees. The objective is that, once these aspects internalized, people may be able to communicate them to the choir through gesture and body language conveniently. The ideal goal is to “personify the sound, not just show it.” To do this, we will also have to show the choir how to become aware of all the details, making sure that the singers can translate our body messages accurately.
The method has to do with the functioning of our mirror neurons, which try not only to reproduce the perceived movements but also to guess their underlying intentions. Thus, we work on a natural ability of the human being. As soon as we master the “Audiation“ technique in the conductor-chorus communication, we will be closer to our ideal performance.