Thursday, January 20, 2011

Finding Inspiration Part 2: Between the Folds

We're continuing the "finding inspiration in unusual places" theme by bringing to your attention an amazing documentary about (of all things) origami, called Between the Folds.  I've seen this program twice before and remember being overwhelmed with inspiration.  Interestingly, I was not in a hurry to try origami, but rather, I was inspired to be better at explaining my ideas about my work in music and in particular, teaching music. 

In the same way that a few great movies suck me in, (The Godfather, Napoleon Dynamite, and Annie Hall to name a few) if I happen to catch just a few moments of any scene, I am then completely rapt and usually there for the remainder.  Such was the case last night with this amazing Independent Lens piece on PBS. I decided to make a few notes while I watched and wondered why I found it so engaging, inspirational, and addicting.  Here are some thoughts:

First,  each person who spoke about origami spoke passionately.  There are origami "artisans" of course, but there are also doctors, teachers, and "folders" of all sorts who relate their passion for the art so eloquently that it makes even the casual observer take interest.

Next, each interviewee was able to explain very complex ideas in relatively easy to understand soundbites. This really struck home with me as I remembered that our mantra during the creation of the Kore Series was, "if you can't articulate a musical concept in a few sentences, then you don't know it well enough". 

If you're making mistakes, you are actually in the process of learning.

It was also surprising to learn that folding failures were often saved or filed both literally and in memory banks as building blocks for future successes. I promised myself that I would share that information with more students.  If you're making mistakes, you are actually in the process of learning.

Lastly, almost every folder said it was the process of making or doing that is important.  It reminded me of musicologist Christopher Small's philosophy of musicking - that music is a verb, it is the act of doing and making music that is important. 

So if you're ready for a visual feast and a ream of inspiration - make it a point to see this film.  I promise you will not be disappointed! Check out the trailer below.