Developing Ideas (Self vs. We)

These developing ideas that I speak of revolve around the various readings I have had over the last few weeks as well as the score of thoughts that have arrived as a reaction to said readings. The idea of “Awareness” was the first such reaction to my interactions in school and from reading critically. I have to thank my good friend Dr. Samuel Rowley for suggesting a great book by a huge brain, Dr. Stephen Brookfield, whose work “The Power of Critical Theory: Liberating Adult Learning & Teaching,” focused on the subject of Critical Theory. My experiences with Critical Theory were all informed by my time spent reading literature by the great public intellect, Dr. Cornell West, thank you Dr Antonia Sheel for buying that great book “Brother West” & “The Cornell West Reader.” His ruminations of the subject of  democracy and it’s implications on life, and living have totally opened up my eyes even more since receiving them over a year ago as a Christmas gift. All these experiences, along with a whole slew of others, have helped to sculpt my thinking about the importance of awareness in the life of the learner. “Awareness”, is something that I have been fortunate to be privy to since my earlier years. However, I never quite understood or knew what it was, but I did understood at least in part that I had something different in me.

This “awareness” that I write of has been exposed in part to me as the concept of “Critical Consciousness” that  Paulo Freire (Brazilian) pedagogue/education theorist posited in his seminal work, “Pedagogy of the Oppressed.” This has helped refine my language in regard to having a deeper discussion about the place of social justice, democracy and critical thinking within the music classroom. I have always thought that music, was merely the vehicle that a music teacher should use in order to create deeper understanding and change within a student. We are here, as educators, not just to teach content or concepts, but more importantly to create awareness within these young sentinels. These very important young people need to be freed from the constraints of the dogma that institutions create as a survival mechanism (sustainability). They create these systems of survival that posit an absolutism of knowledge, one right way or paths. However, like Roland Barthes, I believe in “the Death of the Author.” This translates into creating deeper meaning/awareness (critical consciousness)  for the perceiver/receiver and by proxy dispenses social justice and democratic action in music education. Changing of the guard from Ars Antiqua to Ars Nova, and more importantly the “thinking” of the creator and the perceiver. Maxine Greene, in a courageous article about aesthetic education wrote about becoming more aware of the frequencies that surrounded her. These frequencies are like electricity into your home, Alternating Current (AC) as opposed to Direct Current (DC). To break down the walls of dogma created by institutions, which is a self defense mechanism (sustainability), is paramount to the success and changing of the channeling of the stream of consciousness in culture from mono-directional (DC) to multidimensional (AC). The age and times we live in demand it. No longer are we looking forward to tomorrow, its here and knocking on the doors of praxis, standards and practices saying “Its time to retire!” 

Soo many ideas and thoughts swirling around in my head. More to come….



Are you aware…..There is this growing awareness that is unraveling inside of me. I am excited to know more, and experience new things. However, I am more interested in become more aware of the world and its movements, changes, developments, etc. This eye opening time period in my life is more about sensing and seeing with more than my eyes, hearing with more than my mere ears, and feeling with more than my hands. I am dedicating myself to the freeing of my mind from the material constraints of this world and its inhabitants. To become unglued from the sticking place of normality, and seek a bigger view of life, reality and existence. To be here, in this place called earth, is wonderful, but to be here among all the beautiful things while being free to enjoy them is way better. I have read a couple really great articles in the last couple of weeks by some really wonderful brilliant people like; W.E.B. Du Bois, John Dewey, Maxine Greene, Cornell West. They have not directly written about “Awareness” in any of their articles or writings, but the topic permeates through all of their works as a single thread connecting them all. I see the lack of this awareness in my daily life, whether around PhD’s or regular old me’s, this constant lack of “Awareness.” It started to scare me at first to think that there were people that weren’t consciously evaluating the situation at all times. Some people cover this topic by discussing “Critical Thinking,” which I believe is merely a tool in preparing you for this awareness that I speak of. I am currently pulling all of my thoughts together to form a correct and fundamental understanding of what this “Awareness” means to my life directly and what its implications are to the world. Its hard for me to believe that there aren’t tons of philosophical articles all ready about the type of awareness I speak of. I’m not just talking about remembering what color of the cashier’s shirt was, or whether or not you turned off the oven. Its more about understanding of the connections happening all day long in your life and actual enjoying the building and cumulative deposit of connections that you are being creating through this process.  Its like the best peripheral vision ever, and actually can help you survive many more life threatening experiences than your mere sight will ever allow. That’s enough for now, and back to your regularly scheduled TV show…..(white noise…fades out)

Honesty, O’ the honesty of making Art

There’s something so honest about creating art. It’s not a particular art form, nor the quality of the artist, but rather the act of engaging in soul search. Creating and/or remixing the images, the words, sounds, and feelings bound inside the soul of a man, is a heroic act. There is an honesty found in the act of creating art that chastened the hearts of those engaged in it. The baring of deep dark secrets and the cathartic release of emotions previously unconfronted can make a normal man turn strange, and that is the moment of courageous and valiant repose that we artist look for. This search is truly a lifelong journey and one that is hard to put into words. Next time, ask a musician, a dancer, painter, actor, etc. to explain this urge to be free. This honesty allows many to be free, FREE of all sorts of hang ups and twisted knots found in the very being of us all. That is all….

Jarritt Ahmed Sheel

Lianne La Havas – Forget

Serious Moonlighters

Another great tune from Lianne. She somehow, as she does on “Don’t Wake Me Up,” makes her overdubbed voices sound like trumpets, and the harmony like a fanfare. It’s a striking touch that gives her a unique sound. “Forget” is much more upbeat, and the video is very well-made too. They play with representing her harmonies visually in very cool ways. Also, something about her self-satisfied, slightly sardonic smile (I’m very sorry about all the alliteration just now, we’ll remedy that in the future), and really her whole demeanor in the video, strikes me as the coolest thing I’ve ever seen and has made her a contender for my favorite contemporary female R&B singer, if she wasn’t already.

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Top 5 Inspirational TED Talks on Creativity

Mary Claire Studios Blog

My Favorite TED Talks on Creativity

Here are five great speeches about the creative process, creative blocks and how to overcome them, creative thinking, and creativity in general. I hope you enjoy them.

How a Boy Became an Artist: Jarrett J. Krosoczka

I cried and laughed and agreed and related and celebrated listening to this artist tell his story. This is truly a gem among TED talks.


Creativity Under Pressure: Todd Henry

This is helpful to identify where you may be stuck in the creative process and how to adjust accordingly.


Seven Steps of Creative Thinking: Raphael DiLuzio

Really interesting, take note of these seven steps. Observing what step you are on in the creative process may help to lessen your anxiety about it.


4 Lessons in Creativity: Julie Burstein

Four aspects of life we need to embrace for our creativity to flourish.


Embrace The Shake:…

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TED TALKS #1 – Living Beyond Limits

Happiness Philosophy

I would like to introduce you guys the very inspiring speech from the Ted Talks. Her moving story will definitely give you hope and courage to believe in it.

TED TALKS: ‘Amy Purdy talks about the power of imagination. She explains how our lives are not determined by what happens to us, but by the choices we make. Imagination allows us to break down borders, to move beyond our circumstances, to create and constantly progress.’

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