Tag Archives: reading

Music and Mood Regulation

Sometimes it frustrates me that the potential of music doesn’t seem to be reached in the classroom. Especially after experiencing what music could really do for individuals and small groups. It frustrates me that that has to be compromised in the name of curriculum, school needs and manpower.

If holistic and equal education is key, why doesn’t the government provide funds for small group instrumental instruction and music appreciation? Students would still be able to experience the relationary and social nature of music making with the close relationship of a teacher, without the same teacher having to monitor 35 other kids in the classroom at the same time – something will have to give.

This week’s article is “The Role of Music in Adolescents’ Mood Regulation“. The immense and expansive nature which music can play in mood and emotional regulation in adolescents makes me wonder if they really need classroom music teachers at all.

We all have the instinctive and intuitive drive to use music in our daily lives – to counter sadness, to pump up joy, to divert attention, to focus, to fill voids around and within us. How can music lessons in school build on this intuition, such that students feel validated and valued as a person? And I believe that this is something the arts can do and scaffold, far more than any other subject, which usually involves a steep learning curve.

I thought about my overarching aim for this year – for students to leave each class feeling accomplished and developed. Be it cognitively, physically, socially, emotionally – there is potential to touch any of these areas through music at any one time. So while students may already have the ability to use music for self-mood regulation, surely they can also be expanded to feel the beauty of creating a song cover arrangement, feel the adrenaline of playing in unison, feel the anticipation of listening for nuances and basically just become more “whole” as a person through these experiences.

And so could we – even as adults.

 

The Antidote

 

“Failure is everywhere. It’s just that most of the time we would rather avoid confronting that fact…

Our efforts not to think about failure leave us with a severely distorted understanding of what it takes to be successful. An openness to the emotional experience of failure can be a stepping-stone to a much richer kind of happiness than can be achieved by focusing only on success.”

The phrase “failure is the mother of success” didn’t come from our predecessors for nothing – they knew the meaning and value of failure, something our society seems to be rediscovering – thankfully.

Terra Incognita II

“Worry is a way to pretend that you have knowledge or control over what you don’t – and it surprises me, even in myself, how much we prefer ugly scenarios to the pure unknown.”
-“A Field Guide To Getting Lost”

Reading this, I immediately thought: “that’s me!” The person who’s always worrying, the one who’s always fretting over what we do not know. Although I think I have calmed down over the years and have learnt to cap my worries over certain things, I know I still worry, especially when it comes to the “bigger” things. Not that it makes a difference. If you don’t have control over it, you don’t have control over it. It makes no difference whether the thing we’re worried about is big or small.

Worry is a place in relation to the terra Incognita in our lives. It is a response to the unknown, uncharted, unseen, unexplored. Because we are so used to knowing, we feel helpless when we are faced with something we cannot know, and worry is a way to cope with what that helplessness. To “pretend that you have knowledge and control”.

If we could learn to embrace the terra Incognita in ourselves and in life, accepting the terra Incognita for what it is: an unknown place, beautiful because it has yet to come and pure because it has not been touched or tainted by the present – we would not feel the need to imagine the worst to cope with the need for knowing.

I need to embrace the terra Incognita in my life right now.

Terra Incognita

“Between words is silence, around ink whiteness, behind every map’s information is what’s left out, and unmapped and unmappable.”
“… Terra Incognita spaces on maps say that knowledge is also an island surrounded by oceans of the unknown. They signify that cartographers knew they did not know, and awareness of ignorance is not just ignorant; it’s awareness of knowledge’s limits. To destroy false notions, without even going any further, is one of the ways to advance knowledge. To acknowledge the unknown is part of knowledge…”

– “A Field Guide To Getting Lost”

These paragraphs on terra incognita and the nature of the unknown have captured my imagination and fantasy and thoughts associated with these 2 words.

Terra Incognita.

Growing up and living in a world where knowledge bombards, where not to know is frowned upon, where admittance of not knowing can be a source of shame – terra incognita suggests a world so refreshing and light.

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In the world of terra Incognita, it might be more accepting, more embracing of ambiguity. Of the need for exploration, both externally and internally. Such a world might view learning for the beauty of it, rather than learning as the means to an end. The lack of knowledge, and the awareness of lack of knowledge, being acknowledged as a form of knowledge in itself. Being liberated from knowledge.

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Terra Incognita.

Places and Emotions

“The places in which any significant event occurred become embedded with some of that emotion, and so to recover the memory of that place is to recover the emotion, and sometimes to revisit the place uncovers the emotion. Every love has it’s landscape. Thus place, which is always spoken as though it only counts when you’re present, possesses you in it’s absence, takes on another life as a sense of place, a summoning in the imagination with all the atmospheric effect and association of a powerful emotion. The places inside matter as much as the ones outside…”
‘A Field Guide to Getting Lost’, Rebecca Solnit
These lines very concisely sum up why I feel the way I do towards, in and at certain places.
Sydney, for me, will always be associated with a sense of hope and potential, the place I came to to embark on my dreams and aspirations. The place which gave me the opportunity to experience a life I never thought I could lead.
India, more specifically, Amritapuri – will always be the Home I can return to, as long as I’m there with the ones who mean the most to me.
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Then there’s the Home of all homes, the country where I was born and raised. So many layers of emotions associated with it, that I can’t even begin to think of where to begin. Within that place there are more places and infinitely intricate emotions, as expected from a place you have spent so many years with – all making up who I am and continue to be.
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And so I realize it is true – emotions have their landscapes, and landscapes have their emotions. And it is through these relationships that we grow and develop unfathomable depths of human emotion, some of which we might not even be aware of until we come face to face with those places.

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The Beauty of Abandonment

“What is a ruin, after all? It is a human construction abandoned to nature, and one of the allures of ruins in the city is that of wilderness: a place full of the promise of the unknown with all its epiphanies and dangers. Cities are built by Man, but they decay by nature, from earthquakes and hurricanes to the incremental processes of rot, erosion, rust and microbial breakdown of concrete, stone, wood and brick, the return of plants and animals making their own complex order that further dismantles the simple order of men.”
– “A Field Guide to Being Lost”
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From the time I got hooked on  photo taking, I became aware of the innate attraction to things of old, abandonment, ruin, or just things which could have been typically overlooked in a normal person’s daily life, hence relegating that object to the realms of abandonment.

Examples would include lone fire hydrants in the middle of green fields, or in the midst of towering office buildings. Clock towers. Cracks in the wall. Weeds growing out of those cracks. Old windows. Back alleys. Crates and boxes. Faded curtains. Places soon to be demolished.
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Why do these objects and scenes hold such charm? What is it about the beauty an object or scene of abandonment holds?

These days, the word “vintage” has become somewhat of a brand name. Goods and apparel with that word attached to them can sometimes fetch prices higher than brand new counterparts. Again, it seems to be a testament to the beauty of abandonment. And interestingly, it seems to be characteristic of the developed world. We wouldn’t see (or imagine) a villager from rural areas hankering after that which has been labeled “vintage”, would we?

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Perhaps, bombarded with a landscape which changes too quickly, and a mass of affluence everywhere, that desire to explore things which fall outside the shiny and new, outside the facade of perfection, becomes awakened. And that awakening manifests in the wearing of vintage apparel, in the decorating of one’s house as it might have been in the 60s, in the capturing of scenes of abandonment through the lens of a camera.

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“Ruins become the unconscious of a city, it’s memory, unknown, darkness, lost lands, and in this truly bring it to life.”

The shiny and new certainly have their own allure and charm, but perhaps what is most charming about them is that they serve to highlight the soul of ruins, the beauty of abandonment, the lost potentials of what could have been.
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Silence

“It took me a while to realize that all the words in the world couldn’t keep my thoughts quiet, so I had to learn how to hush them and change them and make them feel comfortable. Silence is actually very wonderful if you let it be. In silence, you can close your eyes and listen to the hum and flow and beat of life, undisturbed by yourself.”

– Frankie Magazine, Issue 64