Some of the Best Big Ideas are Small

Categories: Pedagogy,Performance,The Big Idea

Some of the best ideas are small.

Mid-September.  Big Idea Headquarters is buzzing with activity—inspiration, ideas, insights.  I continue to work at branding myself. (If you’re picturing a ranch and a hot bar of iron with ‘Big Idea’ being stamped on my forearm: close but not quite.)  Less painful. Less bovine-like. More like an ink-free tattoo that shimmers: a compelling thought bubble above my name.  Or maybe like a billboard without the Vodka bottle and the scantily clad woman reminding you which bottle of Vodka you must buy.  Fully clothed: What’s the Big Idea?!?

I’m an artist.  I’m an educator.  I’m an Artist-Educator.  Check out the hyphen that lives between Artist & Educator.  That’s where Everything happens.  That’s where the energy lies—in the hyphenated space. Don’t let the short, straight-line simplicity of the hyphen fool you. It’s the in-between place. Kind of like the synapse that lets crucial materials flow back and forth.  It’s the spark.  The charged space.  Close enough to the DNA strands you can almost feel the crackle.

What’s the Big Idea?!?

I’m not sure what THE Big Idea is but I hold a great desire to explore creative ideas of all sizes.  So much so that so-called small ideas become big.  This is my calling.  To work and play with ideas. To work and play with people.  To bring people and ideas together.

One big idea is to bring Artistry & Education together to find out what might happen on any given day. On stage with musicians.  In a classroom with children.  In a classroom with artists.  On stage with children.

Artistry & Education.  Performance & Pedagogy.  It seems to me that the classroom can be a place of performance while the stage can be a place of pedagogy. (Pedagogy is a term that, in my mind, generously holds the acts of teaching and learning together.) This is the place and space where I want to live and breathe and work.

Think Big. I’m performing at an important showcase event on Friday October 18th at the Folk Music Conference (FMO) in Toronto. (FMO formerly known as The Ontario Council of Folk Festivals: I’m showcasing my children’s record, What’s the Big Idea?!? in front of Artistic Directors from Music Festivals across Ontario, Canada and Internationally.  I’m performing with The Big Idea Band featuring Sheesham & Lotus & Dave Clark (Woodshed Orchestra, Gord Downie).  So the Big Idea could be Big.

Think Small. I’m performing at Go Green Baby in Kingston, Ontario on Friday October 11th.  Go Green Baby: is a groovy store on Division street that you’re not likely to find unless you’re groovy parents.  Discerning parents who are very much interested in buying natural and environmentally conscious products for your children.  Not only that but you want to tap into YOUR community.  Meet other parents. Take a class. Connect to things going on in the place where you live.

There won’t be any artistic directors at my Go Green Baby gig though I’m hoping there will some parents and some children.  Natalie (Go Green Baby owner) and I made a simple plan.  An experiment.  We don’t know what’s going to happen.  I hope to play some songs in a very low-key, intimate way.  Maybe a shy 4-year-old girl will want to run her fingers across the 6 strings of my guitar.  Maybe a quiet Dad will share a laugh with his 2 kids.  Dunno.  It’s a small idea that could be big.  Or perhaps it’s a big idea that’s small.

The Big Idea:  Where Artistry & Education meet for coffee …


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