I don’t easily throw things away and sometimes the rewards are great. At the end of my first year of teaching in 1976, we had a Staff/Board Retreat and were asked to write down some reflections to certain questions. I saved mine in an old file and was stunned to re-read it recently. Turns out that even though my language was a bit fluffy and long-sentenced, I still stand by everything I wrote all those years ago! Re-reading this affirms that my vision was clear back then and I knew exactly what I hoped to accomplish—and then spent the next 44 years accomplishing it.
All the things I emphasize in my workshops about teaching— keeping a beginner’s mind about what you don’t yet know, teaching adults to deepen the teaching with kids, creating community, accenting music as personal expression, being openly vulnerable, using music to cultivate humanitarian promise and empathy—well, it’s all there in seed form.
The mighty oak of those years already had the blueprint in the acorn. No surprise, but fascinating to see it in black and white—well, blue Bic-pen and faded white.
Here’s Part I:
WHY AM I HERE:
• To share what I know and what I don’t know and what we all know. Sharing what I know solidifies it within myself. Having to present it means tracing back to the course and getting in touch with the process of development, which also means getting in touch with my own process of development, and thus, quickening it within myself.
• I work with children because teaching is where I plug into the greater process of survival and energy-exchange/ recycling. The invisible realm of focusing and channeling group energy to create a joyous and self-expanding event is my workshop, voices, bodies and their musical extensions my tools.
• Specific goals are children/ people acquiring the vocabulary to speak in music, to know how music can serve them when words fail, to loose the song in their hears.
• Sharing what I don’t know means opening up and allowing others to help expand my limited vision. It means sharing my confusion as well as my certainty. It means continually looking into the perfect mirror that children are and see my own anxiety reflected, as well as my own joy. The school serves as a thermometer of my own state of being, a supportive community that simultaneously challenges me and brings me to task when I halt the flow and get stuck.
• Sharing what we all know means dissolving all confining roles—teacher/ student, woman/man, person/tree and being with all people and things in affirmation of our unity. The mutual celebration of our common experience.