Individual Learning Vs. Organisational Learning LO13321

Ray Evans Harrell (mcore@IDT.NET)
Sun, 20 Apr 1997 12:58:26 -0700

Replying to LO13309 --


In my work this is a pendulum that we get stuck on periodically. However
one cannot be a good artist unless they walk the entire circle and see
more than the biological and pedagogical. It is at this point that I find
the metaphor of digital knowledge to be a hindrance. I prefer instead to
think of process as being the only possibility for freedom loving souls to
maintain their independence.

In the arts you have the "Gift of God" groups who claim that singers are
born, not developed. This extends into the courts where a recent famous
Metropolitan Opera Mezzo used it successfully to keep herself from
dividing her business with her voice teacher husband as they went through
a rather nasty divorce. I also believe this is going to get more
difficult as the practicality of Intellectual Capital becomes more a part
of everyday life as a result of the computer's ability to be both more
broad and more specific around knowledge systems.

On the other hand you have the pedagogists who say it is a part of almost
every person's physical potential to develop a singing voice that is a
marketable reality. They go to places like Oklahoma with no recent
history of operatic singing and develop prize winning students from zero.
Unfortunately the physical development does not an opera singer make. It
has taken nearly thirty years since Dame Eva Turner came to Oklahoma Univ.
for Opera to be enough of a part of the culture to become a viable
profession in the culture of the state. Amongst certain more literal
fundamental groups it still isn't, but there are very fine singers from
Oklahoma singing in the Opera Houses of the world today. They certainly
do as well as the 2% success rate in the business as a whole. The
pedagogical development of both physical and cultural has created a
success story that no longer condemns fine singing artists to the church
or public schools which was the case in the past. These people were born
people but they most definitely have been DEVELOPED not just bred. This
is the Horatio Alger version of reality and is much closer to the history
of the development of bel canto (the primary Italian vocal method which
everyone swears by but almost none have the patience or discipline to
follow) vocal technique.

The answer is much more complex and we might paraphrase the great Claude
Debussey who said "Sousa's music is to music as military law is to
justice." So we might say the sublime dualitys of "Human systems vs.
Biological systems is to practical reality as the vocational ed vs.
liberal arts ed is to significant human growth." i.e. the words of both
biology and logic are simple words, human constructs that will eventually
become as outmoded as most religious dogmas. The issue is whether we have
the courage to grow and pass our growth to the next generation with
respect and humility. The present does not negate the genius and
importance of tradition and the past must not tyrannize the present with
systems that are not appropriate to this time, place and culture. To the
complexities of human character and artistic style we often must ask the
simple question "does it work?" and if it doesn't, in the present, then it
either is wrong or half-baked.

Just some thoughts from someone who loves both human systems and youthful
scientific arrogance. Adolescence is hell.

Ray Evans Harrell, artistic director
The Magic Circle Chamber Opera of New York


Ray Evans Harrell <mcore@IDT.NET>

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