Linear/Non-Linear Learning – Interleaving and Interweaving
What is learning, if not a process of connecting and integrating various actions, topics, knowledge and processes – especially those that seem disparate and disconnected? We are one organism, one self, one being, after all. It is only an illusion – that we maintain internally and culturally – that various aspects of ourselves are separate and isolated.
Think of… I don’t know, hmmmmmmm… oh! Singing, for example!
Is your singinging separate from your emotional life?
Is your singing separate from your eating habits?
Is your singing separate from your social life?
Is your singing separate from your education about history?
Is your singing separate from your understanding of music theory?
Is your singing separate from your relationship with your family?
Well, you might want to think that your voice is separate from any of these things (and more), but not… there is no way to separate it!
Above, I used the picture of a puzzle with many different, but connected pieces. It goes even further than that! Imagine that each of those diverse and connected pieces are attached linearly, but are also networked and connected – each with all, holographically – at the same time! (Cranium Explodium!)
So, with this in mind, how do we learn to sing, for example, in such a way that can help us coordinate and integrate it as a dynamic action WITHIN the context of a totally connected system of parts and other systems?
Most of us think that we need to learn, study, grow and update in separate ways too.
I work on my singing to improve my singing. I work on my social life to improve my social life, etc.
But, there is another way.
In education there are two concepts that make this very clear:
Blocked Practice – working on one topic or skill thoroughly before moving on to another, and…
Interleaving – mixing and matching, going back and forth between multiple topics and skills in a continuous flow.
My style of voice learning is based on the concept of interleaving (even before I knew there was a technical term for it – thanks Michelle Markwart Deveaux!) and I take it even a step further…
Layering – throughout one learning experience around a particular skill or topic, integrating and expanding one’s awareness to include other topics and skills.
In doing so, a truly multidimensional sense of any action or understanding that connects with many many other topics and skills emerges. This approach not only honors the systemic nature of the whole person and how EVERY action and thought is part of the whole system, but it also optimizes learning to be more and more in alignment with the logic of the system itself.
As Walt Whitman wrote in Song of Myself, 51, “I am large, I contain multitudes.”
We are LARGE! We do contain MULTITUDES! And, it’s possible to live in such a way that those multitudes are not categorically separated and artificially isolated from each other, but held in a LARGE awareness that connects, integrates and updates all any time one is improved.
In THE SINGING SELF PROGRAM this is how I work with singing – it’s a connective, expansive process that invites you into an interleaving, layering process of knowing yourself and your voice in an integrated way. You toggle back and forth between various topics and skills, but what develops is a clear and expanded sense of YOU! When this becomes the new normal state of learning for you related to your singing… a whole new world of ease, confidence and presence opens up! In the TEACHER TRACK, I show voice educators how to think this way and design learning experiences for their students that model and facilitate this deep and comprehensive learning process.