|Storm damage in Walcott, 2014|
Saturday 14 June 2014
Natural communications shared with my Dad in Norfolk, 2014
I have always found it interesting to discover what skills my fellow conductors have.
I do not mean what hobbies they have. I mean their passions and their extra special, personal skills. For example, there is one colleague and I who share a passion for bike-riding, myself with my passion for nature, another with a passion for long-distance running, one with a passion for yoga, one with a gardening passion and another with her ladies’ football team and old-time dancing.
We all share a passion for our work and at the same time we all bring with it other more personal passions to widen the experience of our clients and each other. This is why it is so good that after a lull of a few years with only two conductors in the team we are now back up to eight and hopefully more conductors with more personal passions will join us in the near future.
These passions are so important to us all as individuals but also for our collective conductive work.
As well as these personal passions that conductors bring with them there are also the extra professional skills that we share with each other and the group.
Those of you who are regular readers will know that as well as being a conductor I am an artist, I am an art teacher and I am an art therapist. These skills are very evident in my everyday work as a conductor. My clients, especially the children and teenagers, love being able to ask whether we can make so-and-so today, knowing full well that we can and I will produce the materials and the know-how out of thin air.
My colleague Évi is a conductor and a chef. Our clients know that they can ask ‘Can we cook today?’ knowing that whenever possible Évi will agree and will produce the ingredients and the know-how out of thin air.
I have run conductive art classes and Évi organises conductive cooking evenings. We enjoy each other’s courses, learning from each other’s passions and skills, as much as the clients do!
I have a colleague who is a carpenter and is over-flowing with good ideas for seating, tables, outdoor-play design etc. We can call on her when we need ideas that could be useful in our groups.
I have worked with colleagues who are Heilpädagogen (natural health practitioners), with a specialist in rehabilitation, with a trainee lawyer, and with a specialist in sport.
With all these riches around me, with so many new learning experiences for me and the clients it is no wonder that I am never at a loss for new ideas to pass on to my long-term clients.
From my experience of communicating with conductors all over the world I know that the situation that I find myself in with this multitude of passions and skills to turn to is not unique. There are conductors everywhere with passions, skills and professions that run parallel to their lives as conductors and inevitably criss-cross with each other.
Common core – individually expressed
These passions, no matter whether hobbies or trained skills, are so important for us all. They are what make conductors individuals and what give the conductive pedagogy that we practice it uniqueness. I have walked into many conductive centres and felt at home immediately. I have often had the feeling that I could begin to work there at the drop of a hat, and have indeed sometimes been called upon to do so.
Trained conductors share the conductive pedagogy and conductive ‘upbringing that enables us to do this. But it is the individual passions and skills of conductors that stamp the personality on a group or a centre, give it individuality and special characteristics that shine through and make one place of work more attractive to work in than another.
Therefore the ‘bits-in-between’ that conductors take part in also influence the ‘bits-in-between’ that centres as a whole become involved in. Just as the bits-in-between in a programme are important, so just as important are these bits-in-between for conductors and centres.
I have often written about my own bits-in-between, about riding my bike and communing with nature, about life-drawing classes, pottery sessions and paper-cutting courses, theatre visits or summer-festivals in the city. These are the parts of my life that help me develop the passions that I share with my clients and colleagues and that bring the individual characteristics to my conductive pedagogy and upbringing.
My own passions are mainly arty – painting, drawing, pottery, paper-cutting and anything crafty. There is also my bike and there is my communing with nature. Add these passions to the personal passions of my colleagues – sport, cooking, woodwork, sewing, dancing, yoga, juggling, impro-theatre, gardening, roller-skating, etc. – the result is an inspiring and simulating environment for us all to work in, both clients and colleagues.
Mária Hári told us early on in our training that we must not forget the importance of the bits-in-between. I am sure that she did not mean just the bits-in-between the lying, standing, and sitting programmes for our clients. I am sure that she meant also what conductors do outside their conductive work. I am sure she was thinking about the passions that help us to develop, with the passions from our colleagues, that very special environment to practise our conductive pedagogy and upbringing in.