On Learning Curves, Education, and Creativity

Friday, July 6th, 2012

I’ve been troubling over a couple of picking patterns from The Painter and a few items by John Denver, little intricate patterns that are somewhat mind bending.

I also live In West Simsbury, which, in Census parlance, is a CPD (a census designated place) of the town of Simsbury, Connecticut (median income over 100k). We have the good fortune in this town of having a high quality of life. It’s a town loaded with professionals, a high ratio of people with higher education degrees, marvelous trees, and a decent school system.

Today, we attended my son’s Rock Camp concert at Martocchio’s Music, an outfit that runs music lessons year round and offers camps in rock and jazz music. The musicians are all kids of various levels, mostly who take lessons throughout the year, like my son. And they’re all fantastic, from the drummers to the guitar players. They’re also surpassingly creative, belting out tunes and inventing their own within a week. These camps are the result of lots of human commitment.

A few years ago we also attended a musical at the local high school and the performance values pretty much blew me away. I remember having conversations with my wife about this show: “They could take that on the road,” I said, or something pretty close. This was not the tones of a novice at the violin or clarinet.

Now to some conceptual arithmetic. In life across the country, we typically parse out the year by the school schedule. In our incrementalism, we lose sight of the fact that a lost year can never be recovered, no matter what a standardized test may say.

I’ve always wanted to learn to play guitar, but the fact of the matter is that learning difficult things becomes more difficult with age. I noted the degree to which students at Rock Camp have developed their skills early. My own friend at the guitar, Timmons, told me, yes, it’s hard, that’s why you start early.

We often forget in our decision making about school and culture the very lives were dealing with. Watching Moonlight Empire tonight brought back to my mind the often mysterious glances we give to children whom we often neglect in our credits and in our obsession with mass performance data.


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