"The free play of art is the result of mastery. " --Ernst Fischer, The Necessity of Art

"Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them." --Ladybird Johnson

"...a well-trained ear, a well-trained intelligence, a well-trained heart, and a well-trained hand...." --Zoltan Kodaly


Ashokan: What do you think?

I attend a great music and dance camp (primarily for adults, although students of all ages can be included) in the summer, for a week or so at a time. Held at the Ashokan Center (in NY), each week centers on particular kinds of music/dance--so, for instance, there's Western & Swing week (Lindy, blues, West Coast dance, great Swing music, and Western/Western Swing as well) or Southern week (Cajun, old-time, and more) as well as others.

It's a dynamic and warm atmosphere, where some amazing professional musicians and dancers interact with the campers, at all learning levels, to build skills--and it's a complete blast. (www.ashokan.org, if you'd like more info.)

How is this connected to our systems of formal education? It's not.

It's far better.

There are no tests (although opportunities abound, to jam and to perform).
No one tells the student what to study--many different classes are offered, all day long--we choose our own level and course of study.
There is a great deal of freedom to experiment, to make the material our own. And time, during the week, to ask plenty of questions and work with others.

Did I mention that the area itself is beautiful (it's in the Catskill Mountains), and the food is amazing? And that it's a lively atmosphere, with lots of activity and discussions and shared meals with people who are interested in the same kinds of things?

Oh, and by the way: it tends to be really, seriously fun. Lots of learning, life-changing kinds of fun.

Hmmm....sounds like a model for excellent education, to me.....

Just sayin'.

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