WFH: DAY 133. 8.15 am: A communion. 8.45 am: The weather was balancing on the fulcrum between, on the one hand, the inert and overcast and, on the other hand, a repeat of yesterday. My inbox was clean. I was delighted. So rare, these days. 9.00 am: ‘I got rhythm … .’ I’d a hour or so to explore the potential of the sounds of book leaves being turned, which I’d recorded yesterday evening. A sound that is heard outside the context of its recording may not readily be interpreted as being what it is. In no longer seeing and touching the paper, its index to the source was abstracted almost entirely:
10.30 am: Having extracted sub-samples, I made preparations for the late-morning MA and PhD tutorials. There’s much that I regret and won’t miss about Higher Education, globally. But the one-to-one tutorial mode (held either face-to-face or online) isn’t one of them. Both participants may enter the discussion believing in the possibility that they may leave it fundamentally changed, to some degree. A tutorial need not be a one-way traffic of information and insight passed from from the tutor to the tutee. On those occasions when the fire falls from heaven, both participants teach and learn from each other. Such an experience can move you to your knees, as it were. It’s not a technique; it can’t be taught or guaranteed. Rather, it’s the bestowal of a particular kind of grace. (In the background: John McLaughlin’s Electric Dreams (1979).)
11.15 am: Making tea; taking ages. ‘0, kettle!’:
11.30 am: A tutorial. Puzzled. Perplexed. Persistent. Answers aren’t always available immediately. They have to be approached patiently, slowly, and judiciously. ‘Listen to what the student is saying, John. Read their cues. Don’t jump in with a solution too soon. Allow them the thrill of discovering it for themselves.’ If I were beginning (rather than winding down) my career as a Higher-Education tutor, my pedagogy would be far more focused on encouraging group and collaborative activities. Since its inception, art education has been largely an individualistic enterprise. Anyone who has ever either played in a band or worked in theatre will know just how fulfilling and instructive making a contribution to the greater whole can be.
1.30 pm: Following lunch, I reviewed incoming mail. (In the background: Moreton Feldman’s Rothko Chapel (1971).) 2.00 pm: I picked up the leaves again. The sub-samples were temporally regularized to: 1, 1.5, 1, 2.5, 3, and 3.5 seconds’ length. The process facilitates synchronising looped overlays of material when generating poly-rhythms. I made several aborted attempts to map some of the leaf sounds onto the melody of ‘Sounds Expressive of Something’. Their sonority was entirely wrong for the composition. Nevertheless, they will, no doubt, form the basis of another and different composition. 3.30 pm: I mounted a quality assurance sweep on some of the earlier contributions to the suite. Variety and commonality must be maintained in equilibrium.
4.30 pm: Round-and-about. Found metaphor:
Signs of the times:
7.30 pm: Back to the melodic line that is ‘Sound Expressing Something’. Next step: build upon it, by allying versions of the sub-sample sets, made at 0, and -2 octaves, and with and without harmonics. The additions gave me options, including the option of deleting them if necessary.