On my bookshelf

  • "The Breathing Book" by Donna Farhi
  • "Confessions of a Public Speaker" by Scott Berkun
  • "My Freshman Year" by Rebekah Nathan
  • "Power Presentation" by Patsy Rodenburg

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Pondering an Echo

You know that saying, "If my first child was like this I never would have had a second." Sometimes, in the wee hours of the night, my husband and I admit this to ourselves. Yet, like every parent, the next words out of our mouths are, "But thank goodness we did because, had we been deterred by the behavior of our first child, we wouldn't have been blessed with our Miss Grace." Gracie is almost three and full of a vibrancy of sound I thought I would enjoy, but I find myself appreciating her freedom of expression and moods mostly in her absence. She is our firecracker with a misleading porcelain doll exterior, and our princess with an affinity for pink and sparkles but with a lion inside. She marches with the confidence of a world leader and I hope she never loses any of it. What astonishes me professionally, however, is how keenly she is aware of her environment.

While leading a private voice session this morning a faculty member and I were discussing acoustics. She remarked that her young daughter is quick to notice every space that holds the potential for an echo. I was immediately reminded of my Gracie. Not only does she NEED to physically explore every object and surface in a new room she explores the acoustics as well, throwing her voice here and there and waiting for its reaction. She literally plays with the sound in the room.

It leads me to ponder when we stop paying attention to our aural environment. I still vividly remember playing the silence game as a child. My camp councilor asked everyone to be absolutely silent for three minutes. When the time was up we were supposed to name all of the sounds we heard. It was a huge "aha moment" to hear the sounds we often don't pay attention to. Yet, Gracie's attention is even more keen than that, she has the ears of an opera singer attuned to the vibrations of air between matter. When does the excitement of an echo, or the potential of how sound moves through a room leave us? Is it when we begin to define play as something organized, outside of our everyday living. Spurred on by Stuart Brown's book play I'm curious whether we would have the projection issues I so often see if we gave ourselves permission to vocally play in every new space.

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