“The Pythagorean discovery that ‘all things known have number – for without this, nothing could be thought of or known’-was made in music” (Ferguson, 2008, p. 62).
Further, the first natural law ever formulated mathematically was the relationship between musical pitch and the length of a vibrating harp string. When Pythagoras and his associates discovered the ratios of string lengths that existed to always produce an octave, fifth, and fourth, they realized that there was a hidden pattern behind the beauty of music, a pattern that was understandable but had not been created or invented by man and could not be changed. From this discovery, the Pythagoreans thought other similar mathematical and geometrical patterns must also exist in other aspects of nature. They believed there was order to the universe which was made up of numbers. This idea is known as the great Pythagorean insight and was vastly different from previous conceptions of nature and the universe. Whether we may know it or not, this idea has guided human thinking ever since. (Ferguson, 2008, p. 62-65)
Ferguson, K. (2008). The music of Pythagoras. New York, New York: Walker Publishing Company, Inc.
When I think about the Pythagorean way of thinking, how they used what they learned about patterns to be continually open to discovering other patterns in nature where prior assumptions would have prevented them from doing so, it makes me think about how we teach our students. Regardless of what subject areas we might teach, do we teach our students to discover patterns and to be open to the possibility of making discoveries where discoveries have not yet been made? Do we help our students to recognize how man-defined school subjects are actually interwined and related to one another? Perhaps we have all had certain subjects at one time or another that we did “well” in while others we did not. What would happen if such subjects were combined, connected, and strengthened simply by being taught, experienced, and learned together?
Maybe if we approached education with some of that great Pythagorean insight, we could all be a bit more open to recognizing patterns in nature that exist all around us. Might we then see more students making connections in their own life experiences such as Bernie Williams did?
Rhythms Of The Game…
Throughout my life and my career I have often been challenged by a far too commonly perceived separation between music and sport. A musician couldn’t attain respect as an athlete and vice versa. Coaches and music teachers couldn’t work together, collaborate, or share students, and students should have to choose between sports and music when conflicts arise. One of either music or sport (not both) could be your passion, relinquishing the other to simply be just that other thing you do… sometimes…like when you’re bored or something…Unfortunately, over my career dealing with students who had been forced to choose between their athletic team and the band, was a far too common occurrence, and was never a choice imposed on my end. The most frustrating thing about it was that I usually didn’t know about the conflict or the choice that had been put on the shoulders of the student until the day before or even the day of said conflict. Sadly, what coaches, teachers, and parents sometimes didn’t realize was that I was likely one of the strongest supporters of athletics you could work with and would do everything I could to avoid conflicting events so that students could be involved in both music and sport. I grew up having had the opportunity to pursue sports and music. I coached high school basketball for ten years and I consider myself to be an athlete to some degree even today. I value both the arts and athletics, and I believe today’s students should have the same opportunity. I also believe that both the arts and sports are imperative to leading a healthy life, making positive choices, and contributing to society. Why would we deny students either one?
Williams, Gluck, and Thompson (2011, p. 1), say “the interrelationship between music and sport is storied and ancient. The authors reference Plato having once described the ideal society as having a “united influence of music and sport” where its people “mingle music with sport in the fairest of proportions” (Williams, Gluck, and Thompson, 2011, p. 1).
Williams, B., Gluck, D. and Thompson, B. (2011). Rhythms of the game: The link between musical and athletic performance. Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard Books
Wow! Music and sport in fair proportion? What would that look like? How would our students be impacted? How would student learning and engagement be impacted? Is it possible?
Blurring the lines between pop, classical, and jazz music. Here is a healthy dose of youtube for you and your students this week…
Be sure to check out the video and article below to see what a school did that earned them a donation to their music program by none other than Ozzy Osbourne himself!
Check out this important Saskatchewan research on the role of arts education for economic sustainability. Please share this!
STEM Conference Info – YOU should go to this!
Kendra’s Road Trip Schedule…
Monday – DO all day
Tuesday – Blaine Lake AM, Leask PM
Wednesday – Colonsay AM, DO PM
Thursday – Leask all day
Friday – DO PM
Tuesday – Away
Wednesday – Colonsay field trip all day
Thursday – Blaine Lake all day
Friday – Leask all day?
Have a great week!