"This is the purpose of all Zen teaching-to make you wonder and to answer that wondering with the deepest expression of your own nature" ( Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind)
Officially my vacation started a while ago, but tonight is the first night of my real vacation.
This year I have started my countdown to retirement. What would I really like to do in those coming nine years?
My main goal is to help young and aspiring teachers to be ready for the new world.
Sir Ken Robinson has stated in his books as well as in his TED talks that the universities are preparing students for the world of 200 years ago. Needless to say that what I do, educating classical musicians, is even more so.
Over the past five years I have received hundreds of emails and comments from people who wrote to me and thanked me for how much my book and the videos I put on YouTube have helped them. Some of those notes were from people who live in places where there are no teachers.
What does this prove? It only proves one thing: Nobody needs to come and study with me anymore:
By having a book out there, and numerous videos and articles on the Internet, all the information that one needs is really available and free of charge.
Still, Just like I have done many years ago, people are traveling halfway around the world to study with one specific teacher. Students from all over the world come to our school in Jerusalem to study with me and with other professors.
I have spent two summers at the Harvard Graduate School of Education where I have met incredibly interesting people. One person was Bob Kegan, author of Immunity to Change.
I have to confess that I was very skeptical and somewhat arrogant as I have made some serious changes in places I have worked, some of which were considered quite revolutionary.
Little did I know. It took about five minutes for me to be convinced that I am just like anyone else: I also have a very strong immunity system that prevents me from making real changes. I guess we all need some help in order to overcome this immunity system. This was the main point I have taken from Mr. Kegan's Lecture: Education in the 21st century is not anymore about information: it is about transformation.
Mr. Keegan gave the example of a cup: Pouring water into the cup is like filling it with information. On the other hand, changing the shape of the cup might enlarge its capacity and also make it suitable for other functions.
Here is my main dispute with Mr. Keegan, the only thing that I disagree with:
Most of the education I had received has tried to change my original shape and point me away from who I really was. How many times have I been told not to study music but rather something serious...?
Now, as I look back, I can call truly transformational those points in my life that have brought me back to my true self. Those events in which I felt authentic. When I felt that I was not led by any outside considerations such as prestige, money, success or any other thing.
Going back to music. Can music transform? Can a musical event be transformational?
Or following the previous line of thought, Can music connect us with ourselves? Help us realize who we really are?
In this era where people are exposed to so much information and to so many outside influences, our main role as educators is to help the people who want to transform find their own voice and follow the dream that is truly their own.
Music can and should play a major role in this process.