Andover Educators
Heather Buchanan

Heather Buchanan, Ph.D

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 Andover 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)

Region: Eastern United States
Home State: New Jersey
Available for:  * workshops * individual lessons
Telephone: 609.203.6617

Australian born conductor Heather J. Buchanan, Ph.D., is currently Professor of Music and Director of Choral Activities at Montclair State University (MSU), NJ, 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.

Upcoming Events

Brain is the Key

“I teach singing to actors at a university in Toronto and wish to make the students more aware of this topic as well as to try to influence the faculty to give this more importance. While the conducting institute was intense and in some respects overwhelming, the one thing on which I have been consistently aware is how my ‘map of reality’ about my body map is changing… it is very true that the brain is the key to the whole thing and the body will re-program when the correct information is available and awareness is heightened. The week of Body Mapping really impacted me in a truly significant way."

Carol McFadden