Thursday 2 April 2015

Living and Learning from the Inside Out of the Outside In?


Living and Learning from the Inside Out or the Outside In?

Integrating one's internal world with the external world is the most comprehensive and difficult task of a mature and whole human being (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, 1962).  Whereas the MBTI personality continuum divides the mind between thinking and feeling, sensing and intuition, perceiving and judging and introversion and extroversion, the goal of education and maturation is to integrate these polar opposites. Integrating the internal and external is difficult to teach, but once recognized, a student will find traction to advance further than he or she could have by expending efforts to change their external world without first listening to their souls. One could term this intrinsic motivation. 

One example can be taken from the singing studio.  Jeanie Lovetri lists some core principles of her method,   and one particularly stands out:

When a student can't sing something the problem lies with the instruction, not with the student or the student's ability.
According to Lovetri, it lies with the instructor to find what the student is capable of and build a bridge to extend that capacity, and thus create a pleasure for learning and an inner motivation to continue learning. This in itself is not revolutionary pedagogy, but consider this.  A young singer came to me with a recorded sample of a song she had sung at a peer sporting event.  Her sound was big, brassy and bold.  It was an impressive and mature sound for her age, with a chest register that belted up high.  She was externally motivated by the pop songs she had imbibed from the radio.  Recognizing her talent, I encouraged her to think of her voice within a larger culture of music appreciation that spans several centuries instead of just the present moment.  That motivated her to understand where I was asking her to journey.  After a few months of occasional lessons and public performance auditions that she had successfully completed, I began to ask Jill to listen to the inception of her sound with an inside ear and connect it to her breath.  The pure beauty  of her sound soared beyond imagination, and the shackles of tension fell from her vocal chords.  It reminded me that when one listens internally to one’s soul, the external world benefits, much like when you live for heaven, you receive heaven and earth.

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