When Knowledge Comes Knocking
It’s been a week of standing on either side of the desk and playing the role of both teacher and student. Yesterday, as evening approached, I drove south in the light sunshine after a grey and silvery blue day, listening to the opening chapters of Enlightened Vagabond by Matthieu Ricard. I was headed to a regular tutoring client and wearing that particular set of clothes is always reinvigorating. I absolutely love tutoring; principally because of the opportunity it affords to work with one or two individuals and get right to the heart of the matter in need of illumination. As the night drew in, I sat with my two students moving carefully through the different tenses of the passive voice in Latin. While they were deconstructing a particular challenging example sentence I was suddenly struck by an immense gratitude both for the guidance which opened the door to the elegant constancy of this wonderful language and for the opportunity to share it with students from London to Los Angeles.
Earlier this week I had taken my courage in both hands, marched it down the road to the Santa Monica Music Center and walked it into my first private singing lesson. This was something of a personal hurdle and no mean feat; singing is something I have always loved but never been formally trained in. I was absolutely petrified. I needn’t have worried at all as it turned out. I had the good fortune to walk into a practice room and meet a lovely teacher from Sweden who had taught for many years in the north of England. As she encouraged me to explain why I was seeking lessons and talked about the voice in terms of colours I instantly felt comfortably at home. Half an hour flew by while we practised vocal exercises and began to work on a song.
I left with a skip in my step and my thoughts filled with the wonder of the human condition; that in the midst of our fragile existence our minds are so finely tuned with one another that we can share these precious filaments spun from the life blood of our cultural heritage and that the wandering spirit of knowledge still finds doors that open whenever he knocks upon them.