15 February 2009


I must admit, I often enjoy teaching immensely, and then sometimes I dislike it. One never quite loses the stage fright, especially when one doesn't know the students that well. I had an awesome experience teaching on Friday. GEM, the BYU Group for Experimental Music, finally had a breakthrough and performed collective improvisations that included listening, beautiful and interesting textures created collaboratively, etc. It was really one of the greatest feelings in the world to experience it and to see the joy on their faces afterward. There is a great deal of faith involved in doing something so crazy as going into a windowless room with musical instruments and making music with no score or plan in advance. It took a few weeks for them to get over their self-consciousness and to apply this faith in real time. I think this is what I love about improvisation so much. It is a divine process, especially when engaged in with others.

I have some theory students who are a bit faith-challenged. They ocd-ly ask questions over and over again that mostly have to do with any possible challenge they might encounter on a test. There is a bit of a disconnect with the concept of critical thinking. It reminds me of this bit they used to do on Letterman a year or two ago with one of the actors that pops up here and there. He would ask Dave endless questions that were tedious and difficult to answer, but not interesting. These theory students can be really fun and smart too, though. My favorite technique with dumb questions is to over answer, i.e. to link up to tangents that involve wider historical, philosophical, spiritual, aesthetic themes. It's amusing to me and the smarty-pants students, and for those who are interested in only knowing what will be on the test, it kind of puts them on notice.

I'm teaching a class on the first principles and ordinances at the Forensics Unit today. There's a whole different kind of teaching. Probably the most diverse group of 20 or so people you could ever get together. One of my avenues of inquiry is that there is no difference between generic faith and the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ mentioned in the Articles of Faith as being the first principle. Joseph Smith said that faith is the principle of action in all intelligent beings. Moroni (7:12-22) says that all good things come from God, and further that existence is about "laying hold on every good thing" by means of faith. D&C 88:6-13 says that, as the light of the world, Christ is in the Sun, moon, stars, etc. and that He is the power by which they were created, etc. His light is also said to bring life to all things. All this points to the idea that faith in anything that is good or true is, in essence, faith in Christ.

1 comment:

thomas said...

I taught this lesson today and had a total epiphany about the sequence of the first principles . . . they progress from the solitary and inward (faith) to the most universal and intimate relationship (the "gift," or intimate relationship with, of the Holy Ghost). Does that make sense?

BTW, this is Marni!