A concept that’s been coming up in my reading and writing is the category of magic. It doesn’t belong in my current project, but I’m saving notes for the next one! It’s quite common to hear of performances as “magical,” particularly for the performers. So let’s think about this–by magic, I don’t mean “let’s pull a bunny out of a hat on stage,” but rather I think of inexplicable transformations, whether it’s a frog turning into a prince, or a kiss awakening a dead princess, or spoken words turning a kid into a cat (Hocus Pocus). Magic is a force that can’t be explained, but that has some powerful ability to enact change. Performers, then, are magical. Music is magical. Someone’s actions can enact effects upon others. So during “magical” moments, the normal, rational, logical rules are suspended, and, as a result, powerful transformations are rendered possible. We can become something that we would not otherwise be able to.

Magic, then, in my understanding, is the subjective experience we undergo when conditions are such that we are affected and transformed, particularly in situations outside of the ordinary–under the lights, on the stage. There’s always going to be an element of mystery because we don’t fully understand the neural states associated with them, but that doesn’t make them any less real. It just makes them magical . . .

Now, how to harness the power of magic for our students–that’s the next question!