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Sunday 20 June 2010

Times they are a-changin'

"Being an artist on a Sunday"
by Susie Mallett " 2oth June 2010

He's got everything he needs he's an artist, he don't look back!

In the “Notes and Queries” section of my English weekly newspaper this week someone questioned what has happened to Bob Dylan’s voice.

This reminded me that I had something somewhere in my notebook, scribbled down in haste some time ago.

It was a quote I had read that comes from Bob Dylan’s Chronicles, Volume One. It had been on the wall beside a painting by Bob at an exhibition of his works that a friend of mine had taken me to see. This was the first time I had seen any of Bob Dylan's artworks.

It was actually the friend who turned to me and pointed out how conductive this sounded:

“Creativity has much to do with experience, observation and imagination and if any one of these elements is missing it doesn’t work”

Yes it does sound a bit conductive but then again as I often say most of life does.

The more experience I gather in my work and in my life I realise that however much I read about this or about that, it is by doing and experiencing that I learn the most. It is my experiences that teach me the lessons I need to develop and progress in all that I do.

It is my observations at work and of life that affirm this to me, give me ideas and also give me time to gather my thoughts.

It is my imagination that enables me to use my experiences and my observations creatively.

So thanks for this Bob and thanks too to my friend for pointing it out to me.

Don’t think twice its alright

As to what happened to Bob Dylan’s voice. I don’t know. In this piece of writing from his Chronicles and in the paintings that I was fortunate to see I would say that his “voice “ is doing as well as ever it was.

However I think the author of the question really meant his singing voice. I have not heard Bob sing live recently so I cannot comment on his voice now, but I heard him sing in Budapest in 1992 and I asked myself the same question then. Each time I hear him his voice sounds different, that’s what makes Bob Dylan Bob Dylan!

In my opinion as far as the words, the music and the paintings are concerned Bob Dylan’s voice is still making itself heard loud and strong and clear, all the elements he mentioned that he needs to be creative seem to be still there. Some of the elements I need as a condcutor to be creative too.


She's got everything she needs she's an artist she don't look back, (She belongs to me) -

Bob Dylan's Artwork -

Chronicles Volume One, published o October 5, 2004 by Simon & Schuster-

It is difficult in Germany to track down Bob Dylan songs as I cannot watch anything from Sony produtions but:

The voice seems fine here -

and here -

and of course here, many years ago with old friend Joan Baez -

Don’t think twice its alright: two elderly gents playing a mean guitar and one lovely voice-

And one more just for fun as the guitar playing is so good! -


Andrew said...

Experience, observation,immagination

I beg to disagree with what you write here...

I don't think that what you describe is specifically 'conductive' as such, as pedagogues with other ways of thinking and acting could reasonably claim that these three attributes are represented in their pedagogies too.

Rather, what you are saying is characteristic of much of that which is 'pedagogic'.

Pedagogy that is specifically conductive in its purpose and practice, 'conductive pedagogy', may have these atributes too. But these three will not in themselves 'bring together' the disordered components of development, rerail or reset ontogenesis.

These are the processes that need describing if Conductive Education is to produce a technical literature that can serve to establish its own identity. Your recent posting on group painting activity is the sort of thing that I mean...


Rony Schenker, OTR, PhD, Tsad Kadima, Israel said...

The 'tool box' of a conductor as of many other professions should contain both the 'art' and the 'practice' of the profession. If I understood Andrew correctly, than what he means is that these three elements are to do with the 'Art' of the conductive pedagogy, but not with the 'practice', the 'know how', the 'manual' of how it works. We might say that the art of a profession is what distinct it from staying at the 'craft' level, what differs a craftperson from an artisit. At any case, you need them both in order to get 'quality'.
What do you think?

Andrew said...


I think that I should explain my viewpoint on conductive/pedagogic a little more explicitly.

Imagine a simple, two-dimensional graph drawn on a sheet of paper. The vertical axis represents 'conductiveness', upwards from zero to very conductive indeed – and downwards from zero to very contrary to conductive indeed. Teaching and upbringing might be placed upon this axis according to how far they operate to bring together and unify the disassociated aspects of learning and development – of course how far they might act to force them apart.

The horizontal axis refers to 'pedagogicness'.-- from very pedagogic indeed down through zero to anti-pedagogic, according to how far human agency (teaching and upbringing, for example) act consciously to teach that which was not known, and thereby create (teach) new abilities where there were none before, to activities that act to confirm those who are potentially learners within the range of what they presently know and can do (provide your own examples!).
work to.

As I wrote above, your group-painting activities would rate highly of both axes and would therefore be plotted clearly within the conductive-pedagogic quadrant of this simplistic, two-dimensional graph.

You might reasonably object that conductivity of your practice and its pedagogic quality interact, an the more that it is one then the more it is the other. I think that I might go with this, and offer that the two axes on my graph need not be orthogonal (at right angles) to account for this – a perfectly legitimate mathematical ploy!

But I am also aware just how simplistic it is to break down the substance of Conductive Education into just these two dimensions. I am sure that you will be able to add others.


Andrew said...


This is another of those areas, I suspect, where CE suffers very badly from rarely discussing things and therefore failing to create common understandings and terminology. I can say what I mean, Susie can say what she mean, you can say what you mean, I can put in my view and others will have other takes on all this.

Here is my simple cosmology (like in my comment above I wish that I could draw a diagram!).

The trade of conductors may be construed (and prepared (trained) for under three heads, values, practice and theory.

Practice is what they actually intend and do – their professional activity.

This can be further subdivided and prepared for, this time under two heads : 'science' and 'art'.

I have explored what I mean by 'science' in this context pretty extensively on Conductive World – suffice it here to say that it refers to explicit, communicable, formal knowledge, transmitted from generation to generation by whatever means. By 'art' I mean he personal, creative, adaptation and elaboration of this formal knowledge by the individual conductor (or individual conductive group) to meet the requirements, exigencies etc of a given case, circumatsance, goal etc.

I note that this is not the meaning of the word that either you or Susie adopts. Fair enough.

And, I see, you have introduced another interesting distinction, between 'craft' and 'art'. I think that this discussion could, and should, go usefully on and on....


Susie Mallett said...

I had prepared a couple of answers to the first two comments on this blog from Andrew and Rony in my lunch hour yesterday. When I eventually got home at 21.30 I sort of collapsed in a heap of tiredness with a cup of tea, so there was no posting of blogs or comments from me last night!

Once again I have just got home from work. Late again but this time not because I was working but because I stayed on a bit longer so I could catch the second half of the England match on the TV. I went over to the café at the residential home next door to the conductive ed. department where they just about tolerated my England T shirt and even sold me a cup of coffee.

When I eventually got to a computer I discovered that Andrew Sutton has taken the discussion even further and it maybe my comments no longer really follow on from his latest contributions. I will post them anyway and readers can fit them in where ever they think they belong……

Yes Andrew, you are right.
These words from Dylan and my explanation are pedagogic but are not necessarily conductive. What I described in the group painting posting is certainly conductive.

Now I am asking myself after reading through the painting posting again what are the words that I could add to Dylan’s list to make it specifically about conductive pedagogy.

All I have come up with so far is my old favourite: the Seele (soul). I do not use this in a soppy way. I use the word Seele just as András Petö did in his writings. Just as he wrote and I also believe, the soul must not just be present, it must also be active and healthy and united with the body and physical well-being if steps are to be taken forwards and upwards and outwards, spiralling in fact. Body and soul become united in a person’s efforts to develop both physically and psychologically.

I find it easier to explain conduction by telling a story, as in my painting posting, than I do by writing a list of words.

Back to Dylan

Not only is there that something missing from his list of creative elements, in my opinion, that something is also missing from his paintings. I find his paintings delightful, not only because Bob Dylan painted them but because they are also pleasant to look at. I think I would really enjoy having one on my living room wall.

But when looking at them as a whole it is a different story, there is something missing. They do not make a whole somehow. You can look at them in the links that I gave above.

Each collection of his paintings do not tell a story in the way that his lyrics do. The paintings appear to be just a statement of a moment in time. They show us what he saw out of the window during a quiet moment while on tour. The paintings when looked at together do not suggest a unity or a development of ideas. There is nothing to indicate to me that he was trying to draw his ideas together through the images or the techniques he used. They told me no story, in comparison to his often thought-provoking lyrics that often give encouragement to look forwards, to question and to move on while finding answers.

After looking at my own postings, your comments and Dylan’s work I ask myself whether I am any nearer to finding out what puts the conducere into pedagogy and lifestyle.

For the moment I will stick to the story of life and the Seele.

Susie Mallett said...

Rony, I am not sure if I know exactly what you want to say here, but it appears that you are separating art and practice.

For me art and practice are not two separate entities to be kept in a tool box. One cannot exist without the other, there is no painting to be discussed or viewed before the artist puts paintbrush to canvas and no sculpture before a hammer hits the chisel on the stone. Just as there is no conductive pedagogy/lifestyle without living the life.

A work of art or craft can be abstract, modern, functional, impressionist, pop or op, or post-impressionist. Conductive living can also have as many different faces as the number of personalities involved in producing it and the number of trends being followed at the time.

And still I am a loss to find just a few words that defines what makes what I do a conductive pedagogy and not what is practised somewhere else, for example in a Waldorf-Steiner school or a Montessori kindergarten. We are bringing up children, we are dealing with life and learning, all uniting body and soul.

Conductive upbringing is about life. About all our lives. We all learn from all the activities we take part in and all that we learn influences the next activity and then the next and this will also influence the experiences we had the day before and the day before that.

For me all these things that Rony and Andrew mention, art, science, skills, craft and practice cannot be described as separate parts of conductive pedagogy or upbringing as they do not exist as separate elements, anymore than the individual life experiences that we have can be defined as being the single cause of a specific personal development. I cannot say that at this point this is science or at this point it is art, the spiralling journey needs a complex mixture of all of these all the time, one cannot exist without the others.

Andrew said...

I appreciate the time and effort that you have dedicated to trying to explain your understanding to someone like myself who has no 'art', whether this be creating with paints or practice with people. I deliberately write the words 'understanding, activity' together like this because I discern, a concept here that unifies them rather than places them – as they are often considered – in opposition to each other.

Your position may be hard to convey to someone like myself but I can see that you maintain it wholly consistently.

A long time ago now (actually it was only in January!) I responded on Conductive World to a critical note that you had written on an Internet-published article on Conductive Education on children's drawings. The article has not shared your dialectical understanding. I wrote then that what you had written put me in mind of Vygotskii's Psychology of Art. From what you have written this time does so again, even more so.

This is what I wrote in January:

More importantly, this is what you had written then:

Rony used the term 'art' in connection with what conductors do in their work. That would be, I guess, as you describe your work, a performance art, which binds the matter perhaps even more closely to Vygotskii's Psychology of Art, and to Lois Holzman whose own dialectical therapy-through-drama I alluded to in January. And, as I also alluded then, there is more of an echo of András Pető and his old chum Jakob Moreno in there!

By the way, forgive the use of my favoured spelling of 'Vygotskii' here, rather than the more common, American 'Vygotsky'. I suppose, though, that in communicating with you over there in Germany, I should more properly write 'Wigotskij', as he did himself.!