U-M PCCS; NCID; and SMTD Present:

Mark Miller

"Just This, Nothing More: Meditation Practice and the Art of Improvisation"

Monday, November 3, 2014
5:00-6:30 p.m. // This event is free and open to all U-M affiliates, community scholars, and the general public.

Room 2043, Earl V. Moore Building (School of Music)
1100 Baits Dr., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2085
University of Michigan, North Campus


The power of improvisation, its purpose and meaning, is derived from the power of the present moment, from the lived experience of the improviser. According to the soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy, the only question that matters in improvisation is, "Is this thing alive, or is it dead?" No matter what style or genre we play, we make music that truly lives, only to the extent that we become conscious of our complex and ever-changing circumstances, and that we have the courage to share our experience with others. Meditation is a technology that allows us to to look deeply at the subtle manifestations of sense perception, emotion, thought and imagination, moment by moment—the "stuff" of improvisation. The practice encourages us to pay attention to the difference between what we think, and what we live.

This talk will explore the many parallels (and differences) between meditation and the art of improvisation, describing practices that are practical and available to everyone. These include establishing a sense of presence, openness and wakefulness, creating musical community through the practice of radical acceptance, and working with constructive critique and feedback in the face of judgmental mind.

Mark Miller is Chair of the Music Program at Naropa University, the first Buddhist inspired institution of higher learning accredited in the United States. A Zen practitioner since 1993, his musical interests lie at the intersection of improvisation and
mindfulness—playing everything from New Age to Avant-Garde Jazz. He has performed and recorded with a wide variety of improvising artists including legendary jazz pianist Art Lande, Paul McCandless, David Darling, Tuck and Patti, Native American flutist R. Carlos Nakai, Tibetan flutist Nawang Khechog, and Butoh artist Katsura Kan. He has contributed to numerous recordings both as a leader and sideman including the album Illumination (with pianist Peter Kater), nominated for a Grammy Award in 2013. Specializing in flute and saxophone, Mark is also a longtime student of the shakuhachi, the Japanese bamboo flute associated with Zen Buddhism. Mark Miller holds an M.F.A. degree in jazz performance from California Institute of the Arts.

Light refreshments will be served.

This is event is sponsored by U-M PCCS; National Center for Institutional Diversity (NCID); and U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance (SMTD).


Campus Map Location:
The Moore Building is located in quadrant 9-L on the U-M North Campus parking map.
(See link and street address above, to help identify the building.)

Driving Directions to the Moore Building:
For information and assistance regarding directions & the facility's accessibility,
call (734) 764-0583, or visit SMTD's webpage, Directions to North Campus Venues.

Nearby Parking:
Parking for both visitors and by U-M parking permit (gold and blue) is available in the lot #NC10, immediately southwest of the Moore Building and accessible by vehicle via Baits Dr. The closest orange lots would involve catching the campus bus line (more below).
See additional information (about U-M structures' parking fees, etc.)
at http://pts.umich.edu/parking/.


University Bus Routes & Schedules:
Specific questions regarding nearby campus bus routes and/or temporary parking permits and fees for designated (yellow & orange permit) commuter parking lots may be directed to the U-M Parking Office and Transportation Services. See http://pts.umich.edu/site-tools/contact.php or call Parking Customer Service at
(734) 764-8291.
Also, the Magic Bus website provides real-time status of (free) U-M campus bus routes and schedules. And those routes and schedules are provided at http://pts.umich.edu/transit/routes.php.

Public and Alternative Transportation:
Public bus-transit schedules (& fares) for the greater Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti area are provided by The Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority (TheRide).

The Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority (DDA) offers an interactive map for locating public-access, rentable Zip cars, bicycles, etc.


On-Campus Walking—A Map to the Moore Building:
Several building entrances are accessible by way of walking paths, in addition to the main, Baits Dr. circular-drive entrance (provided as the "starting-point," immediately below).

Directions within the Moore Bldg.—to Room 2043:
From the main entrance (west side of building, by circular drive-up from Baits Dr.), our event is on the same floor/level. Upon entering the building, turn left; and rm. 2043 is just a short walk down that hallway.

right caption arrow
Prof. Mark Miller
of Naropa University

is also a recording artist and
Zen practitioner.
photo: courtesy of M. Miller