March 31, 2008

One Last Blog

Since I am writing a one to two page response to Gregory Clark's "Virtuosos and Ensembles: Rhetorical Lessons from Jazz" in hope of generating ideas for discussion, I thought I would blog about it.

Since beginning English 612: Developing Writing Abilities this spring, I have struggled with the theme of improvisation, not because I disagree with its importance, but because I was unsure whether we were applying it to teaching or to writing. Having recently tried my hand at co-teaching, I am thinking of Clark's article and improvisation in terms of teaching. At the bottom of page 33 and onto page 34 Clark rephrases Poulakos's definition though I'm not exactly sure what he is defining--jazz music, collaborate as mentioned in the previous section, or "a good performance in jazz". Anyway, Clark states: "art 'reveals to us that there are other, perhaps opposite, but still tenable ways of looking at things, of feeling about things. Art tells us what we do not know or do not realize.'" I feel that the art of teaching has revealed not an opposite way but many "tenable ways of looking at things." What are those ways? I have yet to fully realize those ways as I am still trying to make sense of my experiences.

Moving on to Kenneth Burke and "identification" as the new rhetoric. Burke's "new rhetoric" reminds me of Kenneth Bruffee's idea of discourse communities in his article "Collaborative Learning and the 'Conversation of Mankind.'" According to Burke, "you persuade a man only insofar as you can talk his language by speech, gesture, tonality, order, image, attitude, idea, identifying your ways with his" (38; emphasis in original). Similarly, in Bruffee's "normal discourse," each community establishes its "normal discourse," and those who know the conventions of that "normal discourse" are recognized as colleagues. In terms of Burke's definition of individual identity as "identification...with some kind of congregation...[which] also implies some related norms of differentiation and segregation," what are the possible congregations and segregations involved in teaching writing (39)? Possible congregations: faculty, staff, colleagues, teachers at different education levels, some students. Possible segregations: some students, upper administration.

I find the Rollins' half of David Borgo's, "The Play of Meaning and the Meaning of Play in Jazz," more interesting because Borgo talks about understanding one thing in terms of another: "cross-domain mapping." Since music is intangible, we tend to define its elements in terms of space -- high, low, inside, outside -- which directly correlates to Rollins' topic of freedom in musical freedom.

Borgo's final section on signifying refers to Bakhtin's double-voiced discourse, which can be a (re)mediating strategy. The funny thing is that in my personal statement for my graduate school application I included "significs" as one of my interests in education, but not being concerned about music, I had not thought of signifying in terms of music. In fact, I am not even sure how I stumbled across this term because it is not something we discussed in my undergraduate education. I do know that I find layers of meaning (and play in meaning) intriguing.

A Love Supreme "Acknowledgment"
I hear a lot of repetition, which begins to make sense around six minutes when someone starts chanting "Love Supreme." The transition from part one into part two, the walking the bass, is juxtaposed to the high energy of both parts, but it creates a nice space for the listener to switch gears.
A Love Supreme "Resolution"
I like part two better because it has more variety in the rhythm; is it because it is less repetitive? I'm not sure.

Links of interest
AP News: Charles Limb, Jazz musician turned hearing doctor.
NPR Audio: Interview with Charles Limb

Gregory Clark's article was published in the 2004 issue of The Private, the Public, and the Published: Reconciling Private Lives and Public Rhetoric