#coachlearning: when Thomas meets Adam and friends

I tend to listen to classical music whenever I am travelling. I feel really comfortable with that kind of music.

Over the years I have thought about the connections that might be made in coach learning with composers, conductors and musicians.

There are lots of posts on Clyde Street about my imagined connections between classical music and coaching. Last year, for example, motets struck me as a way to discuss coaching. I included this quote about the Thomas Tallis Spem in Alium (written for 40 voices):

The work is a study in contrasts: the individual voices sing and are silent in turns, sometimes alone, sometimes in choirs, sometimes calling and answering, sometimes all together, so that, far from being a monotonous mess, the work is continually presenting new ideas.

I particularly like the idea of performance “presenting new ideas”. In this example, the motet is sung by 700 rather than 40 voices, and raised for me the idea about the scalability of performance:

Occasionally, I break away from classical musical and end up meeting other musicians like the Pierce Brothers and Tash Sultana. They helped me think about performances of understanding.

This week, I discovered, Adam Levine and Maroon 5.

I have had the good fortune to work with many female athletes and coaches of female athletes. When I saw Maroon 5’s Girls Like You video, I immediately thought about how a coach might support the diversity of talents and life experiences in a team.

The video is 4 minutes 30 seconds long and has a remarkable cast. I have replayed the video many times now and it is strikes me forcefully what we might learn from it to support coaches as they explore their practice and their performances.

If you would like to learn more about the people who appeared in the video, you might find this Billboard article of interest (link).

I am delighted Thomas has met Adam via a short detour with the Pierce Brothers and Tash. I think we have lots to learn within sport from outside experiences of performance and how we might enable a commonwealth of talent.

The sounds of performances of understanding

When I was living in North Wales in the late 1990s, I took an online course, Teaching for Understanding, with the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

The course taught me about performances of understanding and how I might plan for them in my teaching and coaching.

The concept and practice of performances of understanding have had a profound impact on me since that time. I have been mindful that in the learning environments I seek to create, I need to provide space for:

  • Messing about
  • Guided inquiry
  • Performance as a synthesis of understanding

One of the ways I seek to enhance my understanding of the observation and analysis of performance is to look at performance in contexts other than sport.

I do not attend music concerts but if I did, this is the kind of event that would appeal to me (a 2 min 40s video of the Pierce Brothers and Tash Sultana):

I had discovered the Pierce Brothers a few years ago as buskers on a tram in Melbourne and as the sound track for a video about Ballarat. I had missed Tash’s busking career on Bourke Street and Swanston Street.

The video was filmed at the Barwon Heads Pub on 25 March 2016.

I took four grabs from the video to encapsulate my sense of the flow of the performance (which was an encore after the main show that night).

I wondered if you managed to look at the video whether these moments resonate with you too.

What I read as performances of understanding in this video synthesised for me their self-directed, intrinsically motivated pathways (Tash’s story).

There is a mutual recognition of these performances in the audience’s response. It seemed the kind of evening you would remember for a long time.

Tash and the Pierce Brothers start a world tour later this month that ends in September in Paris. A number of their performances are already sold out.

I am hoping they might revisit Flying Home.

The process of writing this post has helped me think even more about minimalist augmentation in sport contexts. It has encouraged my “less is more” approach and my consideration of the language we develop and the stories we share about qualitative experiences.