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My most recent single release - "My True North" - is now available on Bandcamp. Open my profile and click on "audio clip".

Friday, May 13, 2016

Learning By Teaching

As someone who has devoted significant energy to thinking before speaking, teaching public classes can present genuine challenges. When in front of a group - especially talking about music - even with a carefully created outline, being extemporaneous can get me into trouble unless I stay mindful. I'm pleased I was in that mindful state doing a recent presentation about Bruce Springsteen since a cousin of his was in the class.

I guess it wasn't far fetched this happened. After all, the class was held here in Bruce's home county. That said, I was very relieved I didn't know about the connection until after my presentation ended and she introduced herself. Knowing my hard-to-stifle propensity for sometimes showing off, had I known in advance, it's not hard to imagine me making a fool of myself in a lame effort to impress.

I did have one clue shortly before the class ended. The husband of Bruce's cousin (I learned they were married in an extended conversation later) asked me to re-show an earlier slide listing the bibliography I'd used while developing my program. Such a request is highly unusual. Though I gladly accommodated, I wondered about that request in the moment. And then later driving home, I was again relieved that all the direct quotes I'd used in my slides were carefully sourced.

A final lesson extracted from this pleasant surprise/close encounter with a relative: In future presentations, I'm going to stop using specific names of well known musicians and songwriters who, in my view, don't measure up to the giants I frequently cite in my courses. If I don't bash authors here in my blog, why - aside from grandstanding - am I mindlessly bashing musicians or songwriters in even more public forums? And how would I feel later finding out a relative of the person I bashed was present?

1 comment:

  1. You are one of my favorite thinkers. THINK. T= is it true? H= is it helpful? I= is it inspiring?
    N= is it necessary? K= is it kind? I should have taken a vow of silence a long time ago.