Saturday, March 12, 2011

353646: The Mantra

That's how it came, early yesterday morning, just after I'd woken up at 4, after the first decent sleep in that many nights, thanks to a rousing bout of flu, cough, and cold that had me sneezing like a ruptured steam boiler. I was so sick I'd had to cancel my Monday morning with the great McDaniel, and let him go off to the ski hill, yet I had managed to sit to the piano stool for regular, very short, intervals, and keep plugging at my instinct that the mother lode of it was not too far from the end of my shovel.  A wee advance, a definite set back - something missing in finger dexterity, accurate finger stretching, digital comprehension, all stemming from yet another instance of a correct general concept cluttered up by the lack of sufficient small steps to achieve its execution gracefully. I'm finally closing in, you see, on the four-note chord studies - in each hand - that should make skillful reading child's play - and variations even easier - and I've been finding the numbers absolute to comprehension, but I'd yet to salt away the routine that would make the student quickly almost too confident to endure. (You know how kids get.) I was close, but not quite the cigar. (I learned that one from my youngest, the other blogger, but long before she could handle a blog.)
And then it came, very early in the morning, very quickly after I started up the mental arithmetic, but this time in an unusually well-protected interior landscape. The devil had not even had a moment for any of his usual dirty work at the wake-up cross-roads.

 353646.     That's all it is. So little, and yet so significant, once you get hold of how to read it. The devil that loves to confuse and discourage students has been thrashing ever since, like a crocodile with a pit bull clamped to his tail.
I still get a little nervous when I type it in, which I've already done several times for a number of people, some extremely well placed, others extremely knowledgeable, or both. Can it really be that easy? So easy and useful and infallibly effective to explain, yet so mysterious if you don't have a clue?
I must admit that I've always wondered what I would do when I finally got to the end of the journey, in terms of making the final clues, whenever I found them, as plain as the sums in a math primer. Obviously, going by the other blogs, they're fodder for fiction. But there's a lot else that's fodder for fiction in those blogs, and the technical information has to find its way in through the natural movements of the characters, unfolding day by day, as have these discoveries. It's been the longest detective story I ever heard of. At adoration of the blessed sacrament in our recently refurbished rectory chapel the other day I was explaining to a lady some of the history of the three stained glass windows that were installed a few months ago, and the coincidence of this event. Her father-in-law, in Slovenia, was a professional organist, and teacher. The windows are from the old Saint Joseph's convent chapel, from the days when the teaching nuns and boarding students lived there, and even after the top floor of the convent school was closed as a residence by the fire marshall, the chapel was used for school events. Our trio sang "Me and My Uncle", for some students in there, along with other folk songs, and the stained glass windows kept me company while I banged away on the chapel piano, always trying to solve the questions that when answered would lead to reading. That was in 1967. A few years later the old school was torn down and a new one built, but the windows were preserved, by one Tam Shields, who had been trained in the stained glass craft in Glasgow, where he was also sometime back-up goalie for the Celtics, and stored on church property against the happy day of their re-employment. Thus they were company in early days of research, and now they smile on me again as I conclude.
Not that I'm ready to perform in Carnegie Hall, or even lead the hymns in Eton chapel (this morning I Googled that school's incredible music programme) but I sure as hell please myself with all the drills, finally being able to put together all the other patterns and pedagogical concepts I've realized over this educational saga., and thus make the music and arrangements that move me the most. Beauty, like charity, begins at home.

353646   Think about it. I wonder if there is a lad at Eton who could deliver me a good essay. He would need to appreciate what Socrates said about the heart of education, and unlike me, he is probably able to read all about that in Greek.


Oregono said...

From NZ in 1981. The Swingers' "Counting The Beat". Currently being used by TV3 as promotional filler (Ain't No Place I'd Rather Be). Phil Judd was part of the original Split Enz that sprang to prominence in the "70s. It's basic and intoxicating.

Oregono said...

And on a different note:

Time to adage.

Rebecca S. said...

This one didn't come to my email, so I just discovered it today. I'm glad you are feeling better and Galen and I will try the 'code'.
I did not know Tam was a backup goalie for the Celtics!

IloveYeshua said...

353646- on a phone, you can make this out to spell ELENIN, The comet thats headed our way. For some wierd reason i just tried it, searched it, and it led me here. Research. God bless