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Agency and perspective

For the final week of #el30 I would like to consider some of what Stephen Downes presents in his intro to the topic of Agency (below in blue). These initial words sparked so much in me, that they were catalyst enough for a post. My thoughts are interspersed with bits from Stephen’s intro (in blue) and ideas presented by Sylvia Baldiris and Jutta Triveranus, his guests for the week’s hour-long video chat.

In Stephen’s intro he asks:

How do we ensure that what we project to the world is what we want to project, both as teachers and learners? 

I’d like to turn this on its head. How do we ensure what we project is receivable? Just as there is no one way to teach or learn, when we project, can this be received? Let’s think literally. Humour me with a metaphor: A projection, of a film can be seen. Can be seen by all seated in a theatre. Can be seen by those in the theatre if the lights are off. You can’t see it from the street. Seeing requires certain conditions and the same is true of any projection. Receiving is one step further along the line of engagement.

For me, the ‘what’ of the projection is the basics, and in considering agency, there is a need to not only project but to also consider (and I mean actively) the conditions that facilitate and enable people to receive and act upon what is projected. Read More »Agency and perspective

Learning along the path of life

Every year I learn. Every day I learn, but I tend to embrace projects. These are not about ‘achieving’ per se, or gaining external recognition or status, but about striving to be a better me. It’s about genuinely growing, because frankly, I’m not done yet.

Yesterday one of those projects happened in an old stone church by the sea. I had the pleasure of performing with some wonderful people – a mixture of my current students, a colleague from the university, guests (the local Vicar and one of my alumni who is now a musical director), and my singing teacher. One of the most daunting and exciting things was having my teacher there, in the audience, but also singing with me. Having her there, willing to stand by me was a most wonderful gift and affirmation.

I continue to learn to find my voice – in all areas of life, and it interests me greatly how freedom is gained through expression, communication, and collaboration, whether through writing, speaking, the cello, or singing. This situation was special. It was a group brought together part by necessity and part by design. The four core members will be going with me to LA as part of an educational outreach trip that is one option for the final semester of the Music with Teaching course at my University. Whoever is on that trip comes together to make music. Last night’s performance gave us a chance to have an outing as a group.Read More »Learning along the path of life


I just blinked. Did I miss it? Actually I experienced that blink. I know I think a lot, and with words, their meaning, understanding, and having… Read More »Experience


Recognition is this week’s topic for #el30 and the abstract asks two very different questions:

  • How do we know a course has been successful?
  • How do we know what someone has learned?

For me, these are not necessarily related like a geometric proof.

  • If this -> then that.

If the course is successful the student learns. As we have seen, perspectives can reveal different meanings and aims. I wonder what the criteria one uses to know a course is successful? There will typically be course aims as well as desired learning outcomes, and perhaps criteria-based assessments or tasks.

Does the student learn? Now this is not something I would ever like to fit into a box, or expect to assess adequately or be able to reward completely.Read More »Recognition

From Chorister to Professional: A Father’s Perspective

Today I had the pleasure of talking to Scott Waddington about his son Isaac, a professional singer-songwriter. This interests me from both the angle of making it within the music industry and from the perspective of learning and teaching in music. Isaac’s skill as a singer, pianist, composer, and someone who can work have carried him through. He has been fortunate to have a family setting where he was both supported and allowed to explore and pursue his chosen avenues.

In the interview Scott gives a snapshot of where Isaac is now, and then explains the path of his musical education. He talks about the impact of a suggestion from a stranger on becoming a chorister, and the journey to London studios and the profession. Scott describes some of the challenges Isaac navigated to get to where he is today. Have a listen to the 22 min interview below.

At the end of the interview he mentions a couple of current projects. I’ve embedded the Cadbury’s advert and the track Someone Like Me below so you can have a listen.Read More »From Chorister to Professional: A Father’s Perspective

Encouraging learning: A graph with perspective

At uni my teaching students follow along with the topics of open music class #MUS654 as a stimulus for learning about designing a curriculum. One of my aims is that students connect outwardly and begin to form wider networks of inquiry with teachers and musicians. Although this year I haven’t succeeded in convincing people to make blogs and post outwardly, the students occasionally allow me to share their ideas. This post is about a task I gave students to create a representation of their 1-year curriculum to present in our class session, with strict instructions not to use powerpoint. I wanted some creative representation, and that is exactly what I got.

Brady made a graph and a graphical representation, and gave me permission to share his ideas with you. It is also fitting that he made a graph, as in another course (where I’m the student), #el30, the task this week was to make a graph. Lovely when strands of life cross paths, isn’t it?Read More »Encouraging learning: A graph with perspective