Why I give a shit about learning

Why I give a shit about learning

For the past few weeks, I’ve been deeply immersed in various subject matters that I consider to be extremely important, and the need to express those thoughts has become greater and greater until this morning I found myself sitting down to begin this paragraph. Instead of one huge rambling post (although I can’t promise it will be entirely ramble-free…), I’m going to attempt to tackle different topics in different posts for the sake of brevity.   The educational system – functional or flawed?   Today, I felt the need to discuss the education system and how it’s already evolved exponentially even within my own lifetime. I would even venture to say that in the approximately seven to eight years since I personally left secondary school, the landscape of education has already changed dramatically.   The strange thing about the traditional learning system is how much it seems to foster a dislike of actual learning within a not-insignificant portion of the students. This is something which, left unchecked, is obviously highly problematic in terms of student attitude and how much this could potentially have a devastating snowball effect on millions of still-unfolding lives.   Yesterday, I found myself watching snippets of the classic 1996 film “Matilda” (based on the excellent book by Roald Dahl, which I also re-read yesterday evening in a fit of nostalgia) and being particularly moved by the scene where Matilda, growing frustrated at the blasé attitude of her lazy and dislikeable parents, takes herself off to the library. (She’s four and a half at the time. Give her kudos for that.)   It’s a beautiful scene...
Pianos, wolves, and absolute focus

Pianos, wolves, and absolute focus

As I was getting ready this morning, I found myself humming something which I couldn’t immediately identify. After a few minutes, I finally realised what it was: the first movement of Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto no.2 in C minor (sometimes affectionately referred to by pianists as “Rach 2”.) I first properly took notice of this beautiful piece when I heard it performed by the extraordinary French pianist Hélène Grimaud. Here’s the link below: Hélène, in my opinion, is one of the absolute top-tier modern-day classical pianists, because of her sheer depth of expression as well as an extraordinary physical facility. Her playing reminds me of Glenn Gould in that it’s very unafraid to be idiosyncratic and individual. The first time I heard her – and seriously paid attention – was several years ago, when I heard Thomas Quasthoff’s rendition of Schumann’s “Hör Ich Das Liedchen Klingen” from his Dichterliebe song cycle. Quasthoff’s voice is on absolute top form, but in addition to a superb vocal performance, I was absolutely blown away by the sheer control and musicality of the rubato in the piano accompaniment and immediately made a note to check out more of her playing. Here’s the video below for anybody that’s curious: One thing I’ve noticed is that whenever I become seriously interested in something, I tend to absorb myself very deeply into whatever the subject matter is and read voraciously on whatever the subject might be. I’ll tear through interviews, read articles and watch YouTube documentaries on everything I can find. Having become thus entranced by her playing so far, I found myself trawling YouTube for more of...