The keynote speaker this morning is Dr. Martin Marty. His session title is Two Strangers at One Keyboard – The Musical Politics of “the Self” and “the Other.”
With a witty sense of humor, Dr. Marty quickly has the audience laughing and engaged in his message. After a brief introduction in which he shares of those in his family who are involved in the teaching profession. He describes himself as a consumer in the field of music, but one who knows a lot about what he’ll be speaking about.
Dr. Marty next goes on to share a “cast of characters” of transformative thinkers whose ideas might be helpful to us:
* Emmanuel Mounier – personalism; a philosophy of service and not of dominion
* Martin Buber – “I and Thou”; all life is meaning
* Gabriel Marcel – “esse est coesse (to be is to be together)”; the other not as a problem, but as a mystery
* Jose Ortega y Gasset – “I am myself and my circumstances”
* Max Scheler – “ordo amoris”; the ordering of affection, not only intellect
* Eugen Rosenstock-Huessy – “respondeo etsi mutabor”; response to the student
* Michael Oakeshott – “conversation” as opposed to argument and dominance
* Emanuel Levinas – discovery of “the self” and “the other”
* Arthur Frank and Marcus Aurelius – “have you learned how to live?”
* George Smmel – the self and the stranger; stranger brings qualities
What bearing do these have on our subject?
“It is not my intent that you go to the library and look up these authors. I’d rather you make music.” Just consider how you are relating to your student, the learner. “The concentration is on doing. The circumstance or setting speaks of ‘at one keyboard.’”
Why the subtitle term “the musical politics” of the self and the other?
“If you didn’t have politics invented, you would have chaos and violence. The opposite – totalitarianism – is a dominant order. Politics – an invention that minimizes the violence and maximizes freedom. Historically many teachers were thought of as tyrannists.
Who is this “other,” in the light of what we have said?
“Someone who attempts to recreate the subject in the student’s mind, and his strategy in doing this is first of all to get the student to recognize what he already potentially knows, which includes breakup the powers of repression in his mind that keep him from knowing what he knows.” Northrop Frye
Reviewing our thinkers in this situation:
Dr. Marty shares an illustration from one of his grandchildren to reiterate his point that students should be viewed as a mystery, not as a problem. His granddaughter exclaimed, “I’m glad Jesus rose from the dead. He sure was a nice guy.” “Where do children come up with these things?” asks Dr. Marty. It’s great!
The student, child or adult, as “mystery,” not “problem”:
Spend time to think about your students. Assume and promote technique, but advance “mystery” of the student through wonder, imagination, empathy, story, play, etc.
Why relate this to “the stranger” and “self” and “other”:
Dr. Marty shares that he has spent a lot of time studying the conflict between different religions in the world. Many people say that “tolerance” is the key to getting along. What they really mean is “If I can get you to believe as little as I do, then we can get along alright.” He asserts instead that hospitality is the key. People should continue to be who they are, but appreciate what others can add to their life.
Addressing “the stranger,” again, psychological, spiritual, esthetic, and behavioral “hospitality,” xeno+philia in a two-way transaction within a larger context.
Bottom lining: “get real, M.E.M.”
All this is to happen withing regular half-hour or hourly music lessons? Yes. It may even be time-saving. But it doesn’t mean psycho-analyzing students. It’s just a way of viewing the whole student.