Just finished the third of three short courses in Singapore, each one a great pleasure and mightily impressed by the enthusiasm, energy and musicality of these Singapore music teachers. And today, one of them asked one of the best questions I’ve ever been asked in an Orff workshop:
“Is there an end to this path?”
Wow. Without hesitation, I answered:
“Orff Schulwerk is a pedagogy of possibility and there is no end to possibility. It is the craft of the imagination and there is no boundary to the imagination. It is the field of music and despite having mostly 5 to 12 notes for all of recorded history, still new melodies that have never been sung are being composed. There may be a finite amount of knowledge and musical concepts that can fit in the Harvard Dictionary of Music (and even here, hundreds of other dictionaries must be written to accommodate the sheer diversity of musical style), but the combinations and re-combinations of these musical elements are virtually infinite. As are the number of connections in the brain that thinking music demands and the multiplicity of nuanced emotion the heart can hold.
In short, properly considered, there is no end to this path.
And yet, the end is ever-present, in each step walked with integrity, courage, truth and love. There is no Emerald City at the end of the Yellow Brick Road with some hidden Wizard pulling ropes. Rather a constant beauty that one can see and touch and taste all around us in each moment of teaching, lions and tigers and bears included.
I repeat: There is no end to this path. And that’s what makes it worth the walking.