If knowledge consumption paralyzes you at the beginning of summer (I have all the time to read all the books!), then you aren’t alone. I struggle with this at the beginning of every summer, and slowly – through a few tested techniques – come back to equilibrium.
However, I must emphasize that knowledge consumption is not the problem. It is the OVER consumption without leaving room for understanding.
In fact, the guiding principles of my studio come from discoveries made in books. A handful of books have changed the course of my life, and in an interrelated web, dictate the actions I make every single day.
Here are my chief principles, and the reads that influenced them.
Approach the natural.
Green Kitchen Stories
Erwan Lecour (movnat)
Small is Beautiful
Leo Babauta, Tynan, JFM and Ryan Nicodemus, Colin Wright
The Four Hour Workweek
Getting Things Done
Cultivate an ethic of craftsmanship.
Tao Te Ching
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
The Art of Learning
You may have noticed that none of these books are about violin. But I would argue that they are all are. The principles the books informed guide the way I approach violin and violin pedagogy. Here are a few examples of the way these principles manifest in my teaching.
- In parent training I emphasize the human need to build skill, use tools, communicate, and create.
- I minimize electronic communicate (only check email once a day).
- We move to learn a new piece only when a working piece has been mastered at a very high quality.
- I teach lessons outside whenever possible.
- I carry a bag with a few essential teaching materials
- I realize that I will never reach “perfection” in playing or teaching, but every day I toil toward further mastery of each skill
- I work toward quality, minimize the superfluous, and acknowledge that I will be happy with freedom and skill and not money and prestige.
It is undeniable that my world view has shifted because I read the books listed above. So, especially if one of your core values is understanding too, don’t cut out consumption. Work to build it into a healthy context of your life. Because what you discover in your discovery time, can influence all of the other time you spend, in the best way possible.