Monday, 9 July 2007

Music and focus

I studied art to A level and loved it! It helped that our sixth form teacher was a passionate artist, well known locally, and his lessons never failed to inject us with enthusiasm.

One day I heard that while we were all sketching outside (as we'd been told to) Big Sharpey had been admonished by Big Bob Watson for wearing his Walkman. Remember those?- Yup the things that used to play cassettes? I know it seems unreal but there you are. That was the 1980s. Mr Watson wanted Sharpey to feel the atmosphere, hear all the sounds which really add up to the illustrative experience. Feel it and it'll come out in the art.

Anyway we were all on Sharpey's side of course. Well he was our chum. And he was big! We didn't really get what Big Bob (er, I mean Mr) Watson really meant by this seemingly killjoy attitude.

But I do now. I own an ipod and I love music (don't get me started!) but if not carefully listened to music becomes part of the background, numbing the senses (not only the hearing!) so that neither the music is really enjoyed, nor the activity being partaken of. I still need music but there are moments when an appreciation of stillness is needed. That's why I don't listen to music while practicing martial arts. So I can hear and feel everything and be completely lost in the moment of my experience. That's true training. Full commitment to the task in hand.

So Bob Watson didn't realise he was a martial artist. Maybe he didn't realise he had a warrior spirit but he certainly had an appreciation of the moment.

Thanks Bob.

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