Toronto, ON, Canada
Happy Halloween!Oct 31, 2015
Most unknowingly to the vast majority of individuals, there are four educators who have had a significantly positive influence on my life. Firstly both my flute instructors (the most hardworking, caring, and artistic folks I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting, I assure you). Secondly, my third and fourth year composition instructor – a brilliant man more interested in the music itself than in writing obscure pieces with the goal of being ‘unique’ (occurring within the majority of University students - more than you’d think). Finally, my high school history teacher. I never adored studying history, per se – memorizing lists of facts and dates never settled well inside my artistic mind (which, as an entity continuously attempts to find its’ own meanings and patterns, does not enjoy lists of incredibly detailed facts being thrown at it) but I’ve always enjoyed learning it.
Blasphemy! What on earth is the difference between learning and memorizing you say?!?!
Our education system is based around the idea that you must study x, y, and z to pass set exams. We cram our minds with so much (oftentimes useless) information until they quiver in pain and beg for no mercy – usually it is 2am by now. Typically, after set exams, we habitually purge our minds of all impractical material that we’ve crammed so tightly within a small portion of our cerebrum.
*disclaimer, I am not a neuro-scientist and am not knowledgeable on the functions or parts of the brain.
Learning, on the other hand, is much more useful. We learn, in my most humble opinion (as always), by choice. Remember reading The Great Gatsby in grade nine? How much did you actually read? Fast forward two months. Same book, same you, choosing to read it on your own without the requirement of scrawling in-depth annotations all over the pages (I cringe at the thought). Suddenly, it is infinitely times more enjoyable – no “skimming”, no Sparknotes, and no frantic "I must finish this chapter!" thoughts as you turn the pages - *these thoughts are also normal when reading literature you love (and Harry Potter. Always with Harry Potter).
I had a very similar experience with History. History, without a doubt, is one of the most interesting topics to discuss (perhaps after politics?) and observe (perhaps after Renoir). I’ve spent hours online reading various profiles and articles regarding countless historical figures and events - something I'd most likely not enjoy if it was carelessly assigned (see 2nd year University baroque and renaissance church chants' mindless memorization of 42 pieces and countless useless facts. Though I admit, this lecture would have been far more useful (possibly interesting?) if the professor in question discussed how we could implement these structures and ideas in the music we played today. Or perhaps a chapter on how and why it has shaped and/or influenced music throughout the years. Sadly, he was far more interested in a sadistic approach in which he assigned unreasonable amounts of work loads without reason or justification as to why we should study them). Like Great Gatsby, it is incredibly more gratifying when there is no pressure to cram as much information in a short period of time into your mind as possible.
Unfortunately, not many teachers choose to acknowledge this (surprising, as surely they were once students, too). My high school World History teacher did and it has changed the way I approach learning. Her lectures were as engaging as the charming documentaries you stumble upon on Netflix (Planet Earth, anyone?) always approached with an unbiased attitude and an open mind for countless ideas. She was always available to discuss questions or comments after class. Without a doubt, she is the reason I can draft up a successful outline and a killer essay proposal within minutes. (Objectively speaking, she is also the reason I can write any form of convincing text longer than your average iMessage while maintaining all the necessary factual evidence required for such assignments). Truly only an incredibly passionate individual with a broad span of knowledge and a humble demeanor could win so hard at teaching.
Moving on, this Halloween, I'm styling my hair just like mommy did for me circa 1997-2008. Let's face it, those days were terrifying. I'll admit, this Ted Baker dress subdues the spook-y factor and gives for a more grown-up Wednesday Addams-chic (think iconic fictional character goes vogue). What's in store on my end? A few scary movies and some well-deserved popcorn binge eating post midterm hell week.
And (big bonus here, guys) here's a little link to your ever-so basic wiki article on the history (brief) and origins (also brief) of Halloween, since so little of us know why we dress up and "party like there's no tomorrow."
*Please read for the sake of learning. No exams or pop-quizzes will be administered, though comments and discussion are always welcomed.
Ted Baker Dress | Chanel Lip-stain | Dollar Store Plastic Ring