There is a great generosity of spirit that drives people to share their time and to share the expertise and experience. I’ve started a piece of writing around learning from music and, as part of my research, reached out to around twenty musicians on Facebook asking for their thoughts.
Well, i can tell you that my plans for yesterday evening went out of the window as i was simply inundated with reflective, thoughtful and lengthy responses. Indeed, within the first twelve hours i’d had over five thousand words sent through where people had sat down and constructed detailed emails. Whilst i’m greatly looking forward to working through these in detail, it was interesting that people felt more comfortable sharing privately through email rather than publicly on the Facebook page, but also interesting how many of them suffixed their thoughts with phrases like ‘this is just my ramblings‘ or ‘sorry is this is a bit sucky‘.
I had many responses on the Facebook page, but mainly people saying ‘i will comment by email‘, indicating that people wanted to be associated with the article, that they wanted to demonstrate public engagement, but that the thoughts being shared were maybe quite personal, maybe not something that they were immediately comfortable sharing in a public space.
Simply posting the question on Facebook felt like a vulnerable act for me: normally this is a social space, not a formal work one (i keep my Facebook community separate from my professional social learning groups. It’s my time off!), and clearly responding (in depth) felt vulnerable for some of my friends too.
Seeing the stance that different people took as they sought to narrate their experiences was interesting too: some highly analytical, creating a structure, trying to quantify how music sits in their lives and how the act of creating and learning music has changed them. Others were far more emotional journeys, talking of change and redemption.
The act of sharing sits at the heart of social learning: being generous with our time and generous with our knowledge and skills. The level of engagement from this group has far exceeded what i expected. I guess when a subject resonates, people want to engage, and it also feels a little like opening a valve that was under considerable pressure. Several people have commented that they’ve never felt able to talk about this before: deeply reflective thoughts.
All of this leaves me a little nervous about drawing together a narrative that does this subject justice, but first i’ll take a little time to just reflect and enjoy the journey as i read through them today. If you’re a musician yourself, or interested in the place for music in learning, do please get in touch or share your thoughts below.