Saturday, July 22, 2017


A rousing closing to the Jazz Course week, starting with shared reflection and ending with Little Johnny Brown, each in turn getting one more chance to “show us their motion” accompanied by spirited singing and handclapping. In the reflection circle, one person shared that she enjoyed my philosophical detours after the activities that actually hit some of the most important points a teacher might consider. And then followed with:” Have you ever considered doing Podcasts?”

Almost any time I’m in the car with my daughter Talia, she has a Podcast to share with me and they’re invariably thought-provoking and interesting. Now that my wife has gone over to the other side and bought an i-Phone, she's starting to listen to them as well. And why not? In our contemporary world, the old oral traditions of storytelling are joined with the literate traditions of book-writing and keep us company while jogging, painting, cooking, driving, what have you. And feed our hunger for knowledge, for active thought, for stories, for enlarging our point of view. Not with the commitment of the book or feature film, but in 5 to 20 minute soundbytes that have substance, but in more bite-size chunks.

In the literate world, there is the blog. For over 6 years, I’ve enjoyed writing one and apparently enough people have enjoyed reading them—a modest amount, to be sure— but enough to feel it merits being public. In the audio-visual world, there are the TED talks and I got to give one 12-minute presentation and have enjoyed watching others. In the aural world, there is the Podcast and now that I am starting to listen to a few, I can’t help but think: “Why not?" If I could capture the things that I speak about in the midst of a workshop that brings the room to a sharp listening focus, I think they might be of interest to people.

But that means preparing them, recording them and figuring out where to put them and how to advertise them. A lot of work. But intriguing. Is this the next step for me? Where to begin? What themes would be of interest? How long should they be?

With 6 more days before my next birthday, it’s a time to look at what’s ahead, how much to continue of what I’m already doing, how and when to catch up with long-overdue books that I want to write, how much to balance teaching kids with adults to sharing pieces/ processes/ activities/ pedagogies through print, video and audio. Could I keep up this blog, still write in my journal, write the next book and an article or two, organize my videos and make new ones to fill in the gaps, make a few podcasts, all the while still teaching children and adults and practicing piano and occasionally performing jazz and etc. etc. etc. And the answer is…I doubt it. So time to pick and choose, let some go for the moment, follow others.

That’s what’s on my mind as I sit in the Halifax Airport about to return home to teach my next course. We’ll see what the world has in mind.

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