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Dr. Heather J. Buchanan

New Jersey, Princeton Junction

B.M.,Music Education, Queensland Conservatorium of Music, Griffith University (Australia)
M.M., Choral Conducting & Music Education, double major with distinction, Westminster Choir College of Rider University (USA)
Ph.D., University of New England (Australia)
Licensed Body Mapping Educator, 2002
Co-editor, Teaching Music through Performance in Choir, Vols 1 –3 (GIA)
DVD Evoking Sound: Body Mapping & Gesture Fundamentals (GIA)
"Enhancing Musical Performance Through Somatic Pedagogy: An introduction to Body Mapping for choral conductors" in Teaching Music through Performance in Choir, Vol.2. (GIA)
"Body Mapping: Enhancing Voice Performance through Somatic Pedagogy" in Teaching Singing in the 21st Century (Springer)

Dr. Heather J. Buchanan

Australian-born conductor Heather J. Buchanan, Ph.D., is currently Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Montclair State University (MSU), New Jersey, where she conducts choirs ranging in size from 24 to 185 voices. Choirs under her direction have won critical acclaim for their “heartfelt conviction,” “grace and precision,” “vibrant sound,” and for singing with the “crispness and dexterity of a professional choir.” Since January 2005 she has taught Body Mapping at MSU annually in a 3-credit elective course for MSU undergraduate and graduate music majors. Students in this course include singers, conductors, and instrumentalists undertaking studies in music performance, music education, and music therapy.

Her Ph.D. dissertation Body Mapping: Self-reflective Views of Student Musicians was the first published research study in the field of Body Mapping. A qualitative research (action research) design guided by an interpretive framework was used to collect data from undergraduate students and their studio teachers. A typology for how participants could master Body Mapping in performance was used to describe student experiences and learning outcomes. The main findings showed Body Mapping positively impacted most students, revealing enhanced ability for musical expression, technical development, musical performance ability, self-awareness, self-empowerment, and reduction in performance-related pain symptoms.

A vibrant teacher, dynamic performer, and passionate musicians’ health advocate, Dr. Buchanan is in demand as a guest conductor, somatic educator, and choral clinician in the US and abroad.

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