Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Off track can be the right track

Recently Complete Vocal Institute arranged one of the recurring update seminars which Authorized CVT Teachers regularly need to attend to keep their authorizations. At the least teachers must be updated with the latest research and findings about the voice and pedagogics once every third year. CVI has concluded this reasonable in order to both make sure teachers maintain the highest level of teaching possible - while still not pressuring anyone with impossible demands.

Update dinner at CVI
Me and Ville attend more often, simply because we want to. It is nice to keep in touch with the community, to get inspired by new knowledge and tools and to just sip in the atmosphere of the school and staff there. However this time we decided not to attend the actual update since we have been at several in a row -  but still visit CVI to join the dinner party. This way we still got a chance to meet up with our friends and collegues plus had time for some meetings and getting some things done together.

We did get a good deal done but not exactly as much as we planned… The two of us really have a tendency to drift off into interesting conversations as soon as we get going and this time was no exception :) Among the subjects we discussed but hadn't planned, was for instance; 
- levels of ambition and expectations in teaching situations
- a long talk about all elements of singing and performance
- if a performance really has to include a message..
..and much more. I think the longest one lasted about 3 hours!
We concluded that we either need to get better at staying on track when having our meetings, or, always book 2-3 extra days around every meeting :)  If life allows us, I vote for the last! 

Our good friend and collegue Inge Rambags seems to be
 in the flow most of the time :) It was really great
to meet up with her again after far too long time apart!
After a meeting with Henrik Kjelin at CVI one of the days we found ourselves staying on not one, but two hours afterwards, talking about other things. Henrik pointed out that it is often in connection to hanging out casually, after actual meetings that the most interesting conversations take place and the best ideas are born. The funny thing, is that my collegue, pianist Birgitta Henriksson, told me an anecdote from her former workplace with the exact same punchline today. 
I find this viewpoint interesting and relate it to what often is refered to as "flow" in psychology and especially in performance psychology of various fields. This is the state when one is completely absorbed in an activity and things seem to flow without disturbance. An important part of it is the total focus on the subject and moment, and - the total lack of focus on oneself. 
Planned and organized work and meetings (as well as practice, learning and everything really) of course have many advantages. But one disadvantage could be the expectations and ambitions that follow with such type of planned activity. 
I think this is the core reason to why casual conversations often are beneficial in this sense - the ambitions and expectations are set aside and ideas and thoughts can flow freely. 
Actually… when i think of it, perhaps we shouldn't even book any meetings anymore and just go straight to the party! :D

Annika with Kadri Koppel (Estonia)

Ville with Mariann Schei (Norway)