This is where I spent a most pleasing and informative day as the two professions in which I am involved came together most unexpectedly. I planned the presentations/workshops beforehand due to the number of sessions I wished to attend. The first off was ‘Digital Upgrade’, not to be confused with upgrading of technology, but rather, our own PPU (Personal potential upgrade) – a ‘street name’ as far as I could see for CPD.
Next was, ‘The Alexander Technique’ covering ‘Breathing, support and awareness of ourselves’. This latter one now being recognised as one of the senses. Other discussion included us being a product of our habits – not thoughts – and under pressure we become smaller and so we should imagine ourselves being bigger. In terms of physical support, it helps to see your fist as the head; the wrist as the neck and the arm as the body to feel how important deportment is.
Performance Anxiety was our next session and the current thinking still seems to be our experiences come from the inside to the out. I am one to allow unpleasant feelings to pass and not get into too much thought about them. There was a tendency here to press the argument that our thoughts come first (CBT).
The next session was utterly fascinating and this is where my Adi work came together with that of teaching music (of which I occasionally partake). It was run by one of the few interesting panel setups which included a chap who had created a device that helped him play the guitar; even though he had been limited by a disability of the hand/fingers.
Being used to teaching people with Specific Needs in the car, I was suddenly struck by the similarities in setting somebody up with the correct controls. Although these were different from in the car, they had the same approach to empathising with the pupil as to what might work best for them.
Imagination is required here and we were shown a film of musicians with disabilities and how they had overcome them with the appropriately modified instruments. They even made a plea for people to enter a competition for those interested in inventing an adaptation that will help musicians to overcome the barriers to learning their chosen instrument. The organisation to contact is the OHMI (The One Handed Musical Institute). I am working on this but making no promises. It is worth checking what is already put the before submitting an entry.
Onto a visit of the trade stands next saw me almost being recruited into the army (though they do like you to have attained Grade 6 player at your instrument). The chap who tried to recruit me was wonderful and I think it’s something I would have enjoyed very much when younger. He obviously hadn’t quite grasped that I am well over the retiring age from the forces but that, of course, really made me feel pretty chuffed!
Then, to a stand where I had a play on a Skoog and then onto having a look at the ‘Ocarina’ which I thought sounded like a medieval type of recorder instrument. It would be perfect in a church building.
Finally, Andy Gledhill, drummer of some renown, ride teaching us various African rhythms with drumsticks – quite a difficult thing to do in my case! Especially when all I could think of is how much like chopsticks they were, though they do, apparently, resemble the Chinese cooking chopsticks more
– who knew that?
Only two gripes of the day from me: The food is expensive and it’s easier to take your own if you are working to a tight schedule. Secondly (and this is major), the whole schebang was held at Manchester United FC. I do think next year they should redress the balance and go for The Etihad and, unlike holding at MUFC, you just never know, you might see a Gallagher brother there.