Tuesday Meaning

02009-03-17 | Uncategorized | 6 comments

Woke up at 01:30. Was I startled by a noise or a dream? Turned my little 2W LED reading light on and started reading The Pyramid by Henning Mankell – and suddenly it was 05:00. I went back to sleep for a while and got up at 06:30. Well, I don’t have to drive any heavy machinery today, just a couple of phone interviews in the morning, so lack of sleep won’t be a problem. Phone interviews can be fun. One can be dressed or naked for a phoner, one can violently shake one’s head No! while one says sweetly oh yes.

Interesting comments to Saturday Music. Thank you.

Boris writes:

At school they taught us about music but they did not teach us music at all.

I understand what you mean. Music is ephemeral. It is difficult to teach such things. A melody may be inelegant or simplistic, a melody may be gratuitously complex, a melody may be a lot of things, but it is never wrong in the way that 2 + 2 = 5 is wrong. Therefore testing is difficult. If one emphasizes the rules that have been developed for music, one can test for understanding of those rules, but every one of the great composers broke many of them. So, how can one really teach music in a school system that overvalues testing? And, more importantly, is music less valuable because it is not as cut and dry? Basic math is easy to teach and easy to grade. Two apples plus four apples equals six apples. If the student writes five apples the answer is wrong. (((Well, things look quite different in higher math, but that is taught in universities.))) History is equally easy to teach, although, while it is easy to teach, test and grade historical facts it is much harder to convey historical meaning.

I am seeing some interesting connecting planes here… the basic computer is simple, it excels at Two apples plus four apples equals six apples. It’s the other stuff, the stuff music, art and meaning are made of that the computer has a much harder time with. (((give it a couple more decades!!))) Have we adapted teaching to how computers work? Somehow we have decided to throw out a lot of stuff that is very important for the human experience, the stuff that cannot be tested or verified, the stuff that is difficult to teach and equally difficult to get – but oh so important and rewarding.

Some of my favorite hours in school, the memorable hours, the ones that changed my thinking, my outlook, were the ones where a teacher talked about something passionately and they were always classes that could not possibly be graded, unless one simply graded for participation. Those are the moments that inspire. Should one get rid of those, because they cannot be tested and graded?

I am thinking ahead to April… maybe a LAVA track I remixed last week, (((much improved, methinks!))) plus a track from the recordings I made with Rahim, plus a song or two from next week’s rehearsals… whaddaya say? Thanks to all who have signed up to Ottmar-Friends in the last couple of days. The response has been great. We’ll have a lot of fun!

Time for me to stop staring at the screen and get out there. The weather is frightfully dry, but gorgeous!


  1. dave

    I love Lava & was listening to it yesterday. Can’t wait to hear the remix.

  2. Stevo

    “Well, I don’t have to drive any heavy machinery today”


  3. Matt Callahan

    I paused for a moment and thought about my own teachers. I can think of only two that were passionate to any degree. I found it interesting then that they were friends outside of work. Seeing the lack of passion in people today, it surprises me not at all that they maintained a friendship when so many of their coworkers were simply waiting for summer vacation.

  4. Ottmar

    Matt: I think teachers should be our stars, not athletes and not some person lipsynching on a TV show. Hm, and they should get paid better…


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