Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Further learning

I was just reading this morning about one Polybius (in a book entitled Jesus and the Eyewitnesses) how he, along with many ancient writers, regarding the written word as less instructive than an eyewitness account, or reading a manual less helpful than a teacher speaking about his subject.

Certainly that's still often the best way of learning: face to face with a teacher (a teacher, mind you, rather than a lecturer). Just to be disagree with my own argument, however, both the varsity courses I've done in the last couple of years have been primarily online, and both of them were perfectly satisfactory in that form. For me.

However, to contradict myself again, I note that there are online degree programs in music available. I'm struggling a little to understand how that could work satisfactorily, music being such a hands-on art, to me. I think Polybius and I would be on the same wavelength with this one. Of course, the theory of music on its own is teachable away from an instrument (up to a point), but music is much more than theory. I guess you can focus on the history, or on form and so on, and these could be done reasonably satisfactorily online - probably more than satisfactorily. Nevertheless, I think music is something that needs to be taught face to face.

I have been wrong before...

There are online Courses on everything under the sun, these days - art, art history, film, photography, fine arts (another subject that sounds less doable online) - the list goes on. If you click on this link - http://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/ -you can find out more about what's available, whetting your appetite for more learning, slavering over the possibilities.

Having been brought up in a family environment where learning per se wasn't highly regarded I used to be of the school (pardon the pun) that thought learning for the sake of learning was a pointless exercise. Now, after having been around the world for a little time, I'm much more of the opinion that learning for the sheer enjoyment of it is something we humans thrive on. Too many of us fail to get our teeth into something new as we get on in life, just because it means work, or taking up time from other things, or...whatever your excuse is. Some of us even think: what's the point of learning more? I'll be dead soon enough.

Yup, you will, and possibly sooner than you imagine. But I think the ability to learn is a God-given gift, and something we should all grasp while we can...


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