Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Lecturer


I have had too much to say about everything my entire adult life. To my credit, I’ve looked for the appropriate forms to express what I think the world needs to hear. Or at least what I think I need to get out of my head and out into the air. And so articles, books, blogs, classes with Middle School kids, comments in workshops. But it was the last that got me into trouble as we went from a rollicking good time playing, singing and dancing to my soapbox lecture on the importance of what we just did. As my Level III class can testify, that hasn’t changed too much. But I am getting better and keeping it short and on point and really, it’s the most ripe time to receive the ideas, fresh from some activity that gave them life and breath.

Some 20 years ago, I created a ritual talk during the Levels trainings to give the idea of a lecture its proper place. A time when no one is wondering when I’m going to stop talking and when we’re going to sing or play again. Everyone who comes is clear why we are there, are aware of the proposed ending time and can relax and settle back into a listening mode. It works.

With so many participants who don’t have English as a first language, I’ve had to rely more on the visuals of the Powerpoint Presentation, not only reinforcing some of the spoken with the written, but showing photos and videos as well. It’s a great way to bring the kids into the adult training and connect all of it with the actual life of music teachers in a school. And a good way for me to deepen my thinking about a particular aspect of this complex work.

This year, I decided to use an article Carl Orff wrote in 1932 as the centerpiece of the talk. But how could I just elaborate on his educational and pedagogical ideas without noting that he wrote this year one year before Hitler took power? Answer? I couldn’t. Especially since there were so many parallels with what’s happening now in the good ole U.S. of A.

But the Editor in me, who is not always doing his job well, thought it was too off-topic and I found myself being pulled to a new theme about Musical Community and Imagination. I followed my impulse and even though that theme is also too broad, that’s what I’ll be sharing in exactly 40 minutes from now. But having invested the time in the 1932/ 2017 connection, I thought I should at least post that on my blog.

Which I have done. Read ahead (well, technically behind—it will appear as the blog before this one.) 

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