Hanging up the phone

Alan Watts was talking about using psychedelic drugs to expand one’s perception, etc., but I think the quote is applicable to learning in general:

When you get the message, hang up the phone. For psychedelic drugs are simply instruments, like microscopes, telescopes, and telephones. The biologist does not sit with eye permanently glued to the microscope; he goes away and works on what he has seen.”

I think immediately of the folks who have taken the same voice lesson repeatedly for years. Sometimes they actually need to be told (nicely) to go away. Sometimes it is only when they are working with their revelations on their own that they get to the next step of internalizing knowledge to the point of wisdom.

It’s OK, I guess, if voice lessons are “so much more than learning how to sing”, but when nothing new ever happens, what is going on? Is the student too dense to move on? Is the teacher unskilled at teaching? Does the student know what they need to do, but is too afraid to go out on their own and do it? I think that last one is fairly common. After years with the same teacher, I can pretty much predict what he will say, what we will do as a result, and whether it is of value to me. Do I continue out of friendship, co-dependence, or because there is still more to learn from this person?

If you enjoy this blog, consider grabbing a copy of Sane Singing: A Guide to Vocal Progress, available in print and ebook!

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