Interested in the therapeutic virtues of music, pianist Arnould Massart searches for anything that can help soothe or stimulate. An activity that distances him from his career as a jazz pianist, especially with Maurane.
At the beginning of the 80s, in the golden age of jazz-rock, the Lundis d’Hortense and the Travers made everyone dance in Saint-Josse, in Brussels. Behind a piano or on bass, Arnould Massart had a prosperous period as a little jazz boy with a rather flattering reputation. Therefore, it is quite logical that the Wallonia-Brussels Federation asks him to take charge of one of the four pilot jazz schools that it intends to open in the country. In Legs, he immediately apprehends the obstacles formed by the old habits inherited from classical music, whose main criteria are the interpretation and the agogic, this way of expanding the rhythm to slow down or speed up the pace. The practice of “new music”, coming from the USA, indeed requires other skills, such as rigor and execution.
At the beginning of the 80s, in the golden age of jazz-rock, the Lundis d’Hortense and the Travers made everyone dance in Saint-Josse, in Brussels. Behind a piano or on bass, Arnould Massart had a prosperous period as a little jazz boy with a rather flattering reputation. Therefore, it is quite logical that the Wallonia-Brussels Federation asks him to take charge of one of the four pilot jazz schools that he intends to open in the country. In Legs, he immediately apprehends the obstacles formed by the old habits inherited from classical music, whose main criterion is the interpretation and the agogic, this way of expanding the rhythm to slow down or speed up the pace. The practice of “new music”, coming from the USA, indeed requires other skills, such as rigor and execution. “From the beginning, I realized that the students had a rhythm problem,” the current sixty-year-old rewinds, in the middle of the books in his house in Schaerbeek. “They knew how to play their instrument more or less well, but it wasn’t working, it wasn’t in its place.” One day, he asks them to put aside the guitars and basses, to stand up and literally get out of his way. “He wanted us to forget about instrumental technique and notes. Just clap your hands.” The young teacher repeats the experience a few years later, when he teaches at the Brussels Conservatory… and the students continue to encounter the same rhythmic problems. He therefore militates for the creation of a specific lesson. No one is opposed to his classmates, but no one wants to hire someone to give it to him either. If Arnould Massart wants a rhythm class, he will have to invent it and give it. “In the first class, I encountered fifty academy teachers – half of whom were older than me – asking me questions about the perceptual or motor nature of their students’ rhythmic difficulties. At this stage, my answers were Mostly intuitive. Intuitive, the resident of Brussels has been since childhood, when he began to rhythmically tap the knife and fork on the table during meals. Later, he accompanies his pianist mother in jazz standards tapping and with anything he can get his hands on, even knitting needles. “I quickly felt a connection to the energy that the beat gave off. I liked the altered state of consciousness that I could put myself in and this exchange that was created between two people who shared it. She wanted to “be sure of the same wavelength”. “.” However, on his first day at the academy, Arnould was immediately reprimanded by the professor, who reproached him for not being able to read music theory well. Understanding, his father tries to comfort him by assuring him that he is not obliged to continue… “But I came back. Maybe it was the sign that he was determined.” However, rhythm is totally absent from the musical pedagogy of the time. “In piano class I was bored: I just played things I didn’t like. It was when I discovered Glenn Miller and George Shearing’s sheet music that it became rhythmic and very exciting. I had fun like crazy.” The same pleasure, several years later, when he squats in the garages of his friends “not to create computer start-ups”, but to rock out. An experience that will be welcome when creating from A to Z his rhythm course for the Brussels Conservatory. Especially since the literature on the subject does not really water the libraries. The fields are very compartmentalized: on one side the researchers, on the other the musicians. Arnould then forces the interaction by immersing himself in scientific work and attending conferences. This graduate in Germanic philology opens up to neuroscience, cognitive psychology and psychomotricity and gives himself access to all information about the functioning of the brain or about the way of perceiving rhythm… which he soon shares. “Statistically there is a resonance curve of speed. Most of us humans are more sensitive, more efficient and more comfortable with the rhythm between 100 to 120 beats per minute. If we increase or decrease the speed, automatically the comfort will be lower. Musicians are unaware of this reality, which can allow them to place themselves in the best learning conditions before searching for the desired tempo”. Today, he directs the Rhythms and Rhythms department of the Brussels Conservatory with the aim of multidisciplinary experimentation and discovery. A way , among other things, to learn more about the importance of the vestibular system, the organ of balance.” Cultural or intuitive explanations have often been attributed to the fact that many Africans dance while making music. Today, studies show that it can There may be above all neurological reasons, since moving the body influences our way of perceiving rhythm.It is all this exploration, this progressive advance towards the understanding of new mysteries, which fascinates this curious anthropology, neurology and pedagogy “It’s a bit like opening up to the hidden side of music. A much deeper side that touches fundamental elements such as identity, energy, health. However, these are things that musicians never talk about”. No more than healing through music and sounds, his other passion. A small folder then takes care of changing the lives of the people of Brussels, at the beginning of the 1990s. Announces the organization, in Saint-Josse, of a seminar by Don Campbell, an American professor focused on the therapeutic power of sounds. A point of view that challenges the pianist, who participates in it for four days. “We live moments music, but we think more about our personal, emotional, sensory experiences. We were not there to analyze the tonality or the presence of a cello, but what the music told us, opened up perspectives and made us discover our interior. There, I learned again to feel my extreme sensitivity for music, of which I was no longer aware after my ultra-technical and theoretical training”. Arnould leaves this seminar in a completely different state, convinced that the fourth art can influence physical and psychological well-being. In the process, he connects the experiences: in Colorado, following in the footsteps of Don Campbell, then in Germany, where he follows three ten-day modules on sound therapy in the Hindu tradition. Inevitably, he ended up organizing his own line-up from 2001. “Most of the time, the participants are mostly non-musicians. I am amazed every time I hear them describe in detail the warmth, well-being or smells that feel”. grace, while the artists themselves never talk about it. Abstracting oneself from the surrounding world and immersing oneself in order to feel the sounds leads to a form of interiority. The power of music can be very strong: I’ve heard people say that Maurane gave them the courage and energy to live.” Because in parallel to his experiments and his various group projects, Arnould will also be the singer’s pianist for twenty-five years. The logical continuation of an unexpected encounter in Anderlecht Shopping Center in the late 1970s. She performed alone, on an occasional small podium, in a sky blue skirt and pink tights. It’s the flash! Some time later, the pianist presented her with a piece he had been commissioned by another artist without ever performing. The next morning, Maurane returns with the lyrics. You’re not fishing will be one of his first popular hits. The two artists grow closer. They share the same definition of good and bad music , and they thrive on jazz.” With success, however, it became difficult for her to turn down agents who landed saying they knew “what she needed,” ie French songs, love, etc. for a while, she didn’t really suit me musically. became less fun.” The pianist quit costing in 2006. He’s seen enough countries, done enough hours on the road, and experienced too many short nights on tour. Now he wants to devote his time to educational research. why not help people in certain circumstances? Then he composes therapeutic music designed to dissolve anxiety. To invite people to return to their daily lives. Or to play with preoperative anxiety. Both for the interested party, and for those who care about it. “It’s not a miracle, it depends on the sensitivity of each one. When I compose, I have my intentions, but we take what we want. And sometimes it’s very moving, like when a woman said that her father had wanted to listen to this composition for a long time. his last moments.”