Supporting Educators • Promoting Learning Written by ANDREW EALES
The other morning, while enjoying my first cup of tea for the day, our puppy Bella Bardóg decided to keep nudging me for attention, distracting me from reading the book in my hands. I rather thoughtlessly responded with,
“If you want the book, how about you read it to me?”
Bella looked somewhat forlorn, and my wife Louise chipped in with,
“Don’t humiliate her! You know she can’t read!”
This slightly daft domestic anecdote illustrates a hugely important truth: when we ask somebody, anybody, to do something we know they are incapable of, we humiliate them.
How often, perhaps inadvertently, do we do this to our students?
As well as an aspiring dog-whisperer, Louise is a clinical specialist in child and adolescent mental health, and it is only fitting to credit her for many of the thoughts which follow, emerging as they did from our discussion that morning…
Playing and Living • Beyond the Notes Written by ANDREW EALES
As I write this, I am in India on a yoga retreat. Each day here begins sat on the floor together, listening to a reflective discourse on the ethics outlined in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the classic text that provides the start point from which all yoga theory subsequently developed.
The first, foundational ethic presented by Patanjali was ahimsa, which can be literally translated no harm, and essentially means be kind.
Without kindness, there can be no true yoga. And yet, as our teacher wryly and rather decisively noted:
“There are plenty of people in this world who can touch their toes, but who are still basically arseholes!”
As usual, what is true in one field can equally apply in another, and certainly from my own observations of pianists, both in online forums and the ‘real world’, there are plenty of very fine piano players and teachers who seem to be somewhat lacking in kindness towards others.
So how can we encourage the piano community to be a kinder one? Let’s sit together and reflect on the meaning of ahimsa…