Language diversity is shared cultural heritage. However different we may express ourselves; we all use language to add meaning to the same world we live in, one world. It is rapidly turning into one of the greater contradictions of our time. While no one is able to catch up with the rate at which our virtual world becomes denser and more invasive, it also seems to render us defenseless, or even wary in real life. Talking multilingual in a school environment is sometimes prone to ideological discussions. That ideological input may at best, be well meant. It is more likely that it causes an amount of unnecessary friction.
We may miss out on opportunities to add engaging ingredients to our cultural mix. However naïve it might seem to some, mix prefers to see our idiosyncrasies as inviting elements, offering opportunities in pedagogical surroundings. There is no need to create our roadblocks!
Language distinguishes us from one other, it also defines us as humans. We have no bee-like communication with the world, no acute sense of smell like polar bears, when we see geese flying overhead, guided by their infallible geomagnetic orientation, it renders us speechless. Instead, we only have language, both highly fallible and immensely versatile.
Language diversity will remain that challenging perspective. That many languages, that many steppingstones to engage in.
Music being one of primal language, and music education in particular, holds this natural capacity to inspire. Teachers, students, musicians and their audiences, engage in this unique perspective. There is of course this key question to address: which approach will work best in our music classes? What influences will further trigger our inspiration?
It is not about ‘if’ but about ”how”.
“If language were liquid, it would be rushing in…” It is an intimate line in “Language”, a song by the folky American singer songwriter, Suzanne Vega. Its lyrics are about reaching out into a silence more eloquent than any words could ever be. Music is indeed an ephemeral sphere in which language may seem self-evident, only cultural diversity invites us to make our music classes more supportive. The aim being to discover and fully appreciate each other’s idiom.
Mix wants to find out how to encourage music teachers in doing so.
If Suzanne Vega refers to words being too solid and not moving fast enough, she in fact means the opposite. She invites us to catch the blur in the brain, that flies by and is gone… That is the power of music, isn’t it?