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….