All In A Day’s Work….part 2

Part two of a three part series about renewal of faith and the telling of an adventure that returned a lost heart. Mine. Let’s see where was I, ah yes…..

The first day of school. IMDI- The Institut of Musik Daya Indonesia. I walked the lengthy road heading toward the school and what I cam up was an unassuming, well kept building that looked more like a large home than a school. I wondered if anyone was there as I walked into the open and inviting lobby. I was very excited to meet the students and begin my “first” day of teaching. Since I had been at the school briefly the night before, I was familiar with the interior and I knew that to the left of the lobby was the indoor/outdoor campus restaurant. I found a spot and parked my laptop and backpack at the table usually reserved for “the principal”. It wouldn’t be long before the school filled with sounds of pianos, singing, exotic instruments and laughter.

It’s been said that a great school is only as good as it’s curriculum. However, without dedicated teachers and students willing to employ the wide-ranging tools the school has to offer, you basically end up with a building full of non-participators-of-life bodies. A school should provide a means but which the students can open their minds and interact creatively with their environment. That comes about by having a progressive think-out-of-the-box pedagogy, focused on understanding and building the true motivation behind taking action. A forward thinking science of education intended to assist the development of great artists in becoming outstanding human beings who are able to create value with their contribution to their community,  society and world.

Throughout the day I observed the students in their daily ritual that consisted of attending classes, studying and performing. I sat in on classes watching and listening to the teachers as they dialogue’d and demonstrated various techniques. The warmth and mutual respect that transpired between the teachers and the students touched upon feelings in me that illuminated new possibilities for revelation.

Personally, I never felt that one could learn anything of real value in school, especially music and performing. So spending my two weeks teaching masters classes, ensemble work and private vocal lessons, which ran all day, one after another, seemed to me to be a frittered exercise in lecturing. I mean, after all I really wasn’t a “teacher” in the traditional sense. But after the 4th day of this hectic yet extremely gratifying schedule, a pattern soon emerged that ignited a small spark inside my head and my heart.  IMDI was one of “those” schools and it didn’t take me long to feel the energy of focused, dedicated and inspired learning.

Slowly the realization that teaching was not a one way street, but two way street and you get back exactly what you put in. If you put in sincerity, love, respect, enthusiasm and joy in what you are sharing, not just giving, but sharing, you get all back in equal measure, especially the sharing.

Tsunesaboro Makiguchi an educational reformer and the First President of the Soka Gakkai wrote: ” The aim of education is not to transfer knowledge; it is to guide the learning process, to equip the learner with the methods of research. It is not the piecemeal merchandizing of information; it is to enable the acquisition of the methods for learning on one’s own; it is the provision of keys to unlock the vault of knowledge. Rather than encouraging students to appropriate the intellectual treasures uncovered by others, we should enable them to undertake on their own the process of discovery and invention.”

The founder and principal of Institut Musik Daya Indonesia (IMDI) Tjut Nyak Deviana Daudsjah, a woman of many talents, created this exact type of rare and uncommon educational facility. The first independent Music Academy in Indonesia. Her acute and far-reaching vision was the foundation for this phenomenal performing arts school.  A school where the goal was not to produce graduates that have perfected formula ridden rote memorization, but instead people who entered as students but left as true artists inspired and with a perfect love for learning and thinking for themselves.

OK back to the story, enough preachin’. I interviewed Devi for the January episode of Tales From the Jazz Side podcast, where we talked about how long we had known each other. Nevertheless she was my boss for two weeks and yes she worked me like a ‘government mule’, still she was not unsympathetic of my foray into the teaching world.

For all her serious, painstaking work ethic and high expectations for her students and teachers, she never forgot to display how proud and appreciative she was of the Herculean effort made by everyone at the academy.

So after about 11 days of playing concerts and teaching, she suggested that we take a couple of days to visit Borobudur. Man, I was HAPPY to get the break. We booked the flights and was off for two days.

The trip proved……
I feel Peter Nivio Zalenga quote describes it best.

“I am imagination. I can see what the eyes cannot see. I can hear what the ears cannot hear. I can feel what the heart cannot feel.”

Pilgrimage for a Mystic in training……..

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