Conversation over breakfast with GM, a father of five, addressing the subject of childcare for parents on GC courses. The basic question: what is Guitar Craft going to do to provide childcare on courses?
This has been a subject of ongoing consideration in GC for some time, particularly now that the first generation of Crafties are mostly forty-something parents. We have not yet successfully accommodated children on GC courses which, essentially, are courses for adults. The question is given added focus by the possibility of a 6-week Summer School in England next year as part of the Virtuous Circle Project.
There seems to be two different cultural approaches to childcare: the North (America & Europe) & the South (America & Europe). In the US & Northern Europe professional childminding is a common feature of domestic & professional life. Office & factory crèches are widely available and/or with the increasing presumption in favour of institutional provision. In Southern Europe & South America, the relevant unit of organisation continues to be the extended family. Traditional patterns prevail: the husband goes out to work, the mother takes care of the children; the grandparents, aunts & uncles are also available for child support.
So, a Northern Crafty parent inclines to the question: what childcare will Guitar Craft make available, as an institutional/professional provider? The Southern Crafty would not ask the question, but knows the answer: children are the responsibility of the parents, with the support of the extended family.
Guitar Craft is not a professional institution and, although it is an extended family, childcare has not yet been factored into the equation.
At Claymont Court in West Virginia, where many of the early courses were held, there was a residential community & school that was the bedrock of the courses held on the property (of which GC was only one). So, childcare was factored into Claymont on both the institutional/professional & extended family models.
At Sherborne House in Gloucestershire, where the IACE courses were held over a 5-year period, there was also an ongoing quasi-community with sufficient parents & available adults to provide childcare & supervision, plus schools in the area. So, once again, a form of combined institutional + extended family model was in place. At Sherborne, the activities of the children were mainly separate from the adult courses being held, although there was also interaction.
GM asked the question: how to integrate children into Guitar Craft activities? Noting the distinction between courses & communities, I put this back to him: what will GC parents do to integrate children within GC? The initiative lies with them. Currently, the courses in which I am involved are specifically for adults. However, there are several parents in GC with a professional background in child education; and others with their own considerable parenting practical experience. One Crafty in Canada set up family life on GC principles: both parents attended courses; both children followed them; one is now an Alexander trainee. There are also schooling models available, such as that of Madame Nathalie de Salzmann de Etievan.
No doubt, more on this later.
T'ai Chi with Luciano & the bugs at 09.15.
Level One at 10.00 – one of their number has decided to leave: Guitar Craft is not for them. Sometimes this is how it is: neither a reflection on the student, nor Guitar Craft.
During the 1980s, a Western Mevlevi sheik sent me to the Halveti tekke in New York City. The Mevlevi sheikh thought the music of the Halvetis might resonate with me in such a way that it would provide a musical direction. The tekke & its work, tradition & music, did indeed resonate; but it was not my way, nor my musical direction.
Around the same time I visited the Halveti tekke north of the city, where the Head Sheik of the order was visiting America. He was a considerable man, deserving & receiving of respect; comments he made in response to questions continue to resonate with me today. But, it was not my way.
Also in the same time period, I visited a Turkish Mevlevi sheik who had moved to the West & was living in the Bay Area. When visiting San Francisco, I joined his group in turning. This was a field in which he had a gift & authority (and which experience continues to instruct me in Guitar Craft circles today).
This same Sheik, as a younger man and relatively new to the West, came to a King Crimson show (of the Discipline era, late 1981) in a San Francisco club, and brought his pupils. The Sheik & his entourage were made welcome & shown hospitality appropriate to a visit (subject to the conditions of backstage dressing rooms in a rock club) by a person of his station. He has, as an older man, also visited a more recent King Crimson performance in SF. The Sheik & his way have my deep respect & ongoing admiration: I continue to learn from both. But, this is not my way; although I feel that this way supports my way.
Several years after the event, I was told by a mutual acquaintance that the Mevlevi Sheik had remarked on the welcome shown him & his entourage at the Crimson show of 1981: the hospitality was very Sufi. As compliments go to backstage hospitality, particularly in a rock club, that has to be about the highest on offer.
A Level Two meeting at 11.00 addressing circulating & patterns of circulation where the note remains with the seat, although the person on the seat might move to another seat, and where another note is waiting for them.
13.53 A good comment at lunch, from this morning's t'ai chi class: how a small noticing continues to inform. This is an example of the aphorism: small incremental advances are transformative.
Tragic news came in this morning: the boyfriend of a member of the team, a 24-year old Argentinean guitarist, fell over & died onstage in Madrid two days ago.
14.42 A personal meeting with one of the Team who sees directly into the world of energies, how they see music as patterns & colours unfolding in this world, & a discussion of how this talent is necessary to support their role in GC.
Gerald Wilde, the artist-in-residence at Sherborne House, saw into the world of energies & painted what he saw. On occasion, Mr. Bennett asked Gerald to paint certain themes, which Gerald would do. Gerald was brilliant, also quite mad, a practised drinker & a person I treated with a measure of caution. Gerald would occasionally seize upon a passing student, outside his accommodation/studio in an outbuilding by the back door of Sherborne House, and persuade them to purchase a bottle of liquor for him at the village store. On one occasion, I was that student.
20.17 Personal meetings this afternoon with the Kitchen Team. Various good & real concerns & issues.
A few words on Doing Nothing at 18.30.
Very few comments were offered over dinner. Inviting comments has been, so far on this course, a reliable way of bringing animated conversation to an abrupt halt.
A question regarding the exercise of attention lead to a brief presentation of the Tetrad Of Musicianship: we are all in the same place, but our experiencing of that same place is different.
The consensus, on what is the best use of our time this evening, seems to be a meeting of the large circle in the Hall of Diligence.
22.32 Self-organising Inner & Outer circles of guitars. Good work, and fun.
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