Thursday, August 19, 2010
Hear and Now
I'm going out of order here. This is John Paynter's second book about children's music education, circa 1972. I'll post the first one in a bit. Who is John Paynter? There's a nice obit in the Guardian explaining how Paynter, like Carl Orff, revolutionized the music curriculum by moving away from rote learning and towards an emphasis on creativity, imagination and improvisation. Instead of teaching kids the proper way to hold a bassoon he was more interested in meeting them on their own ground by connecting sounds (not just musical sounds but noises, etc.) to feelings and felt experience. In another book, for example, he speaks of a successful music lesson about the idea of "vastness." "If possible we'd try to have some first-hand experience: going out on to a hill-top or a moor if we lived in the country; to the top of a church-tower to survey the landscape; to the beach to look at the vastness of the sea. If we lived in a town we might look at and talk about the canopy of sky above the roofs of a city, or the vast stretching-out of tall factory chimneys." Paynter also seemed to have a good sense of music's place in a broader spectrum of creative endeavor, and so his books always include lots of photos of sculptures, paintings and the like -- a bit like Kurt Rowland's Looking and Seeing series, not to mention Ghost Box releases. I love the photos in Hear and Now. The one with the crouching kids and Count Dracula figure is, I believe, a photo of Paynter's friend R. Murray Schafer, which somebody also posted up on Found Objects. There is a companion record to this book that I desperately need.