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Thacher Music Blog

A peculiar lesson

In my struggle to represent the work that we do to prospective parents on our open house day, I was reminded of one of the more unique lessons which arose with nearly all of the students in the school this year.

One way that I sometimes describe what I wish to bring in my teaching is that I wish for all the students to be able to experience life as a musician does. (please read my previous post to understand what I mean by music.)

One of the things we have to coordinate in moving towards this is a more cognizant hearing. I do, indeed work with exercises which are to do with hearing, and in the Montessori environment such sensorial work is a natural part of the general work.

This year’s peculiar lesson was intended to frame a very real, but often neglected experience. Although, I used much playfulness and zigzagging questions to have the children really experience the sensations I was wishing them to contrast, the lesson is simply this:

Our eyes have two main functions. One of which we easily recognize, the function of seeing. The other we are mostly aware of: they express outwardly to others our inner state. They are “the window of the soul”. We can shine out the light of our love, or show our concern, express anger or many other things.

The neglected experience is this: The same is true of our hearing. Not only do we take in the experience of the world around us through the sense of sound, but our inner state is expressed to those around us by how we inwardly organize to hear them. Indeed the quality of our hearing has a causative impact on our world.

As we learn to have a choice in what we project through our eyes, so we have a choice in what we project through how we hear.

For real musicians, the quality of what is behind another person’s hearing is an audible experience.

This fact is also experienced in how silence changes in quality according to the order of hearing being applied to it.

We may notice, at times, children working, or being still, but doing an extra kind of listening, exploring their hearing and how they are changing the world around them with it. Don’t interrupt, see if you can hear it too.

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