The Difference Between Overstimulation and Understimulation…

Today’s students are plagued by the daily onslaught of too much stimulation from the moment they wake up until, hopefully,  their heads hit the pillow for sleep at night. I can rember being a child and thinking there is nothing to do…LOL. The time period I am talking about was during the 1980’s. This was before the widespread use of the internet, google, ipads, smarrphones, social networks like; facebook, twitter, 24 hour news cycles, etc. Today,  children are assaulted by things, all day long, that are there merely to attract or distract them. This is one of theain themes I try to relate to educators that argue there isn’t enough in the curriculum to catch our students attention. I argue, there is more than enough. School isnt about attention grabbing presentations and electrifying moment to moment interaction.  School and education should be about  giving space, time and opportunity to reflect and engage in task to generate knowledge,  understanding and above all meaning.

The engagement that teachers are attempting to broker is supposed to be centered on the “common core”.  that this set of common and core activities should be engaged in every activity and classroom. This set of elements doesn’t really give room to the student to reflect,  when reflection is a constant assessible activity. what happened to classroom discussions? The music classroom has been a guinea pig for experiment into the importance of common core elements and activities over the past two decades. The arts teacher in their need to remain relevant in a change landscapes has allowed themselves and the experience they and the student are engaged in to be manipulated by those assessing. When, in all actuality the experience of performing and preparing is more than enough to create long lasting development of knowledge, understanding, and  meaning making.

If the student is the text, and we as educators are truly trying to gain contextual fluency, then wh y are we solely focusing on assessment without discuss with them about it? If we have all agreed that traditional assessment does not work, why then are we still allowing for traditional assessment yo take place? shouldn’t we be involved in authentic assessment that involves the examination of the student’s knowledge and its use in a variety of settings? Yes we should.

These are just a few questions and ideas that I have been focused on lately. Space and Time are important to the student’s development. The availability of those rights and privileges are contigent on the student’s assertiveness as well as the teacher, parents and administrations call for that to be standard. If our educative process is student-centered, then we should worry less about product and more about process.


“What’s wrong w…

“What’s wrong with hip-hop is the system that controls the definition of it. There needs to be more balance on the airwaves.” – Saul Williams

Control and the lack of the artist’s control over their own medium is important to the understanding of hip hop

“I was born wit…

“I was born with music inside me. Music was one of my parts. Like my ribs, my kidneys, my liver, my heart. Like my blood. It was a force already within me when I arrived on the scene. It was a necessity for me-like food or water.” – Ray Charles

“I was born with music inside me.” Is the way that I have felt all my life. There is something so incredible about the power and agency that music can provide. 


Today I was reminded that understanding, not tolerance, is a two way street. I thinknit might have been my mother that shared with me many years ago that in order to understand a person and their issues you should try to walk a mile in their shoes. I was reminded of that again today during my weekly readings for grad school. I think that there is a misconception about peace, that it stems solely from tolerance. I here the term tolerance tossed around alot in the general direction of social justice and equality. However, I believe that tolerance like toliet paper runs out at some point. Understand is something that can, and should last a lifetime. You may need to be reminded of why and what you understand, but you should maintain the initial conception your entire life.

If you want understanding,  you have to try to generate towards others.  Please don’t confuse understanding and the acknowledgement of “otherness” as an acceptance of things you may disagree with. Understand, in my definition pertains to deep knowledge of and perspective on the topic. You can understand how and why someone may like, love, hate or loathe something or someone based upon information gleaned, but you dont have to agree. This is the paradox that critical thinking can only help you become comfortable with.