Saturday, October 30, 2010

Can You Hear Me Now?

"Musick has Charms to sooth a savage Breast"
                             -  William Congreve, in The mourning bride, 1697

It's a common phrase, and almost always misquoted.  But I'm not writing about accuracy here, but meaning.  One of the most interesting parts of my position is the ability to audit classes, to view my materials being presented.  I was observing an activity the other day and something was odd about the room.  it took me a few minutes to figure it out, because ti was not something that was there.

It was something that was not.  The room was quiet. 

Most people would consider that a normal classroom, but that struck me as wrong.  Years ago I was teaching a class with Martin Bryant.  Martin has exceptional instructor skills, and the only bad part about Martin in the classroom is that most people will not get to experience him teaching.  I discovered Martin always played music in the classroom during activities. 

I originally thought that might be a distraction, but was surprised to see the contrary.  It had a relaxing effect in some of the people, and real perk up for some more.  And that makes sense if you think about it.  Rooms that are quiet remind us of a library, places to be serious, or even situations that are not pleasant.  But rooms with music evoke mental images of places that are fun.

So I make a point to instruct all of my people, play something fun in the background during breaks and activities.  it will set the right tone for learning.

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