My head is bubbling with thoughts about education today. I just started giving voice lessons to a new student…who is actually the Senior Pastor of a Baptist Church. I like his attitude: he’s been singing with his worship choir for a while, and now, he wants to learn how, seriously. He’s willing to pay to hear what another person has experienced and to try to have a similar experience himself. That’s very humble, in a way, and very honoring. There’s a mentality switch in allowing yourself to be taught. It’s not like you can’t sing without voice lessons. Heck, anyone can sing. It’s not like you can’t cook without cooking lessons. There have got to be hundreds of activities that we do without having ever had “instruction”. What is added when you decide to be taught? Standards? Judgment? Community? Collaboration?
I’ve been having such a great time learning new skills at Old World Wisconsin and trying things I’ve never done before. I’ve noticed some different attitudes among the people who have been instructing me, mostly about the extent of their ego involvement. Some people teach from the platform of themselves — their experience, their methods and their knowledge seems to be the central point of engagement. Others seem to be teaching from the platform of the subject. They put that at the center and allow you to poke it and prod it in different ways, but they’re always looking for the results and responses from the material itself, as though they are still students themselves. You can learn something from teachers of every style, I suppose, but I find the ones who loosen their ego grip more inspiring. They allow passion for the subject to arise. Therefore, I was pleased when my new student said that he found the lesson “really fun!” He was discovering singing with his own voice, not mine.
My daughter shared this great comic with me by e-mail, so I want to pass it on. I hope it comes out legible! (courtesy of xkcd.com)