Being into the pedagogy and didactic process for more than 20 years, has been an evolving working and creative process in itself. The teaching practice represents a strong via for contact, communication and exchange, a connection into a personal and interpersonal experiences in life, through music and art, culture and its diversities, intimate feelings and expression of emotions. The pedagogy side of my working process has been a practice in its own as a way for understanding self expression.
The understanding within the interaction and feedback among the elements involved in the exercise, has been a crucial factor in the repercussion of long term conditioning of development and learning.
In my individual case, the main consideration has always been the ¨what is¨ in each individual motivation for doing a specific task, learning through an action or exercising into activity. What is unique in everyone as his/her own being, and that is brought into the practice and working procedure through the learning work.
Everything in our lives can be used as a working field. Sharing a particular way of understanding the natural phenomena of things, digging into history, practicing the Art, investigating about human condition and his place in time, his geography and cultural environment, studying aesthetics and roots of main interest, etc.
There is no linear method nor fixed dogma, but an elemental historic source for inspiration and perceptual conditioning on which immerse ourselves as a path for self inquiry, self re-discovering, self awareness and self re-invention of ourselves through practicing, listening, observation and understanding.
Drumming here is a via, a path; a noble instrument for our own singularity to be sculpted as an extended/expanded limb of our body-mind-spirit.
Childhood is the corner stone for creativity and open source for the activation of intuitive thinking process in life.
¿How to keep oneself discovering once we already learned and mastered something? ¿How to avoid and overcome THE repetitiveness that lead us to boredom? ¿How to keep growing and evolving when we reach our adulthood in a closed-linear-automat raw sociocultural system?
Kids are always changing, evolving, developing, dreaming, imagining fantastic worlds, playing improvised games, creating new realities, n-a-t-u-r-a-l-l-y. We adults must avoid restrict their creative freedom and natural apprehension and intuitive understanding of the world.
Being close to Nature, listening and observing kids natural gifts, always open many paths for new ways of communicating and perceiving, growth and rejuvenation in my pedagogical practice.
Kids perception of music is beyond the music as we understand music, it is pure music at its more divine pure state. It exists at a vibrational level within the young being.
Chiapas: an open backyard for creative playing and invention environment.
During my working with native kids in Chiapas for a few years, I went to observe an endless opened possibility to approach and develop the musical workshop field in a very different and diverse manner than the mere western based pedagogical method I was using until 2010. Since native kids hasn´t any closeness with Western culture nor musical tradition in an institutional academic education nor systematic training as we normally encounter with modern urban kids, they are completely open/free to expression from deep inside, a high degree of perceptive sensory-motor that allows them to explore into a fantastic level of creative awareness. No system nor method fits into their true sensitiveness and understanding of the world of sound organization and auditive thinking. This kids, which barely speak or understand Spanish language, talk to the trees, the rivers, communicate with animals in subtle ways, signs with the birds and get into a unique sort of communication with mountains and the wind.
After a few years of being in contact with this open minded-free spirits, a sort of dynamic procedures became the fertile soil to communicate basic and elemental aspects of what I may call pure music practices. For my personal experience it was a very deep interchanging encounter, as I became the true student of their pure nature. And this sort of dynamic procedures became a singular methodology to be used after a few years of working in many other educational contexts and formative situations.
What I finally ended up with after several years of practicing was a complete new project: AUDIOSFERAS: del juego creativo a través del sonido. Which I conceive not only as a pedagogic-didactic method for creative music mind practices or a closed system to teach improvisation, but as my own personal workshop environment for keep alive my musical ¨ludic childhood¨ creative habits.
Short insight on AUDIOSFERAS: del juego creativo a través del sonido.
It is a workshop which basic parameter departs from silence and listening. What it is before and after we play. Audiosphere means the time and space environment where sound exists and develops as a biological being - like the atmosphere and stratosphere -, where the biological life of sounds live, interact and reproduce. It is not about playing but generating sound as pure matter, elemental bodies of vibrating content to develop through playing; sometimes this playing is lead by a strategy, others it is open to self willfully individual creative impulses. The instruments are a medium, a textural source - as the human body itself - a matter generative source that hopefully stimulates the creative mind; and a colorful palette with diverse and infinite possibilities of tones and mixtures of tonalities to explore. The instrument is viewed as a volume maker in space-time. Instead of thinking, there is pure intuition; instead of technique, there is perception impulse; instead of delimiting rules, there are paths for communicating and contacting truthfully within each other through sound.
The word `improvisation` is a construct from last century. But the way of improvising is an innate quality of all animated animals; in the mere simpler musical practice, is to generate imaginary vehicles to developing notions and open ideas, which over a given period of time may became auditive thoughts; new beings into new worlds, which in turn enable a peculiar and particular sense of spatiality, perception of inner-outer states of physical existence, sound stasis in space-time, a keen sense of rhythm and movement, sound textures, color and temperature of sound.
Audiosferas the workshop, is conceived as a process that can be utilized as a platform for creative work and composing for any individual, traditional trained musician and very useful for the participation of non musicians. Kids finds here a magic nature reservoir for exploring within themselves.
As a pedagogic system it is complete documented and structured, but its applications in the working field are limitless and highly flexible; it is intended that the participant invent his/her path to develop musically.
Working consciously into a given audiosphere, develops concentration and focus of mind, it stimulates imaginations into and interactively within the collective imagination; it also improves the capacity of listening, self awareness for order and organization, a sensibility for abstract thinking; and finally, it gives clear notion about acoustic ecology.
DRUMMING TEACHING PRACTICE.
For many years and since early stages in my career, I´ve been asked to teach by other drummers.
For myself, I think that drumming is an individual experience through music and dancing, singing and listening to our own inner rhyhtm . Percuting is like dancing, so dancing the drums implies an awareness of the body movement at a higher degree.
Music and drumming styles are important as far as one experience them as a way of understanding culture in a given moment and geography in history, so it can form a personal historic perspective; it represents an encounter with other cultural ideologies, cosmogonies, spiritual and religious practices, etc. Through practicing drumming in a qualified and mindful way, one enters into deeper territories getting in contact within various ways of thinking, feeling, doing and expressing creatively ourselves.
The rudimental based school practice, like the USA tradition one, represents a small corner of the whole universe of world drumming; there are as many ways of playing and technics in drumming as there are individual approaches in every corner of the whole geographic places on Earth. It is a wide universal language spread through diaspora all over the World.
It is in this multidirectional sense, that the more advanced pedagogic and didactic practice on stylistic, technical and idiomatic drumming complexities I ended with, has been exposed and developed through TAMBORERO LAB, a drum set workshop composed in a chamber music quartet format, and which repertoire requires a great amount of commitment, investigation, practice, performative instrumental technical capabilities, etc.
TEACHING DRUMMING STYLES.
As a practice, teaching drumming styles always has situated me in a position of re-learning from the styles to be taught and learned. The fundamental question is always ¿Where is this or that music coming from and what is that music for?
Being Classical Orchestral snare drum, Traditional or Modern Jazz, Brazilian Music or Afro-Cuban oriented music or African Rhythms, whatever the style may be called, it comes from a cultural perspective and ideology practices; it serves a purpose into that sociocultural environment. Teaching Jazz Drumming means to enter a culture idiosyncrasy, religious manners and practices, spiritual communication, social events, etc.
The fundamental question is ¿What is that that one may really teach about through a specific playing form and style? This is my main reflection on teaching drumming styles.
The main questioning on teaching drumming styles always has been ¿Why are we interested in this or that style? ¿What do we thinking is this or that style coming from? ¿What is this or that style for? ¿How is that we want to learn from that style of musical language? ¿Why are we want to spend a considerable period of time in our lives learning this or that style of playing? ¿What for? ¿Is this or that style enable us to fully express ourselves? ¿Is this or that style of music really align with our natural way of feeling and expressing our emotions? ¿What is that that attract us to this or that style of playing?
There is a logical path to evolve and developing into the instrumental learning process. But I think this is an open and diverse path for everyone.
The main problem I think is to understand history and the tendencies that has been arised on every era in every specific culture. ¿Why is one interested in a specific way of playing? ¿How it is possible to feel this attraction if we come from a different cultural and traditional perspective? ¿How could one be positively influenced by that sound we think fits within our own way of feeling and perceiving our own sound in the the world? Again the question ¿Why are we becoming interested into spending a considerable amount of time in learning other peoples habits, manners, ways of expression, performance practices and technical visions and truths?
If we think on this questions we re-discover our deep own motivation to truthfully learn to play an instrument in a certain way.
We don´t want to waste our life time in something we don´t truthfully and deeply vibrate with. We want to learn an instrument to express our true feelings and emotions, develop our imaginary landscapes, work on our thinking and understanding, re-discovering ourselves with the contact with the other through performance practices, sculpting our body through practicing, and to enhance our understanding of who we really are and what are we here for.