Skip to content

“…matched by their upraised light…” Linda Hogan

October 10, 2016

Two of the teachers who influenced me the most had the grace to listen as full participants. They took the score in their hands and proceeded to live it along with each player they listened to. Players usually responded by playing better – it is much easier to play well when the person beside you is having a musical experience. Eventually, I found there was a premise in quantum theory that stated much the same thing: “…by the very the act of watching, the observer affects the observed reality.” Apparently, electrons can behave as both particles and as waves but can only behave as waves when being observed.


These teachers knew that “living the music” was a way to help students look and play their best. Even so, they could hear what knowledge needed sharing for progress. Frequently they opened the door to each student’s next stage of development. They had the wisdom and experience, to solve the problems that held the student in their current box.

When we sit in judgment seems the opposite is true. When we wait for weakness we find it. The act of measuring music seems to make the music disappear. Throughout my undergraduate years one felt that the teachers sat at the back of the room evaluating us all on form and content. Many of those teachers were not practicing, performing only a little, hardly publishing or creating. This was a strange conundrum for a music school – a faculty evaluating us who never took the chance at doing music. Taking a chance at performing, writing or creating makes you vulnerable because something will not be perfect. As students we were taking chances being taught by people who had stopped taking risks.caceres-oscar-011982

Makes me wonder about testing in general, spending all that money to test and measure rather than on creating learning opportunities. A learning opportunity envisions a multi-faceted outcome – it is hard to predict the extent of each person’s ability to make conclusions. If we think of the Howard Gardner’s numerous intelligences, our experience will be filtered through those. A trip to the forest will be a visual splendour to one while the sounds may create a deep aural impression on someone else. Creating rich situations to learn means not controlling the outcome. Perhaps we should focus on maximizing our students’ potential to learn and grow rather than measuring the results.

It was in the middle of a trip that Nasrudin came to a lake surrounded by hills. “This viewpoint is magnificent isn’t it, people visit from all around for the scenery?” a proud local said to the eminent teacher.

 “Magnificent, no,” said Nasrudin, “but it has stood up to the floods remarkably well.”

  1. Craig Visser permalink

    great post William.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: