Last night while sitting in my studio I found myself thinking about how my adult life is a lot like kindergarten.
I have only a few specific memories of my Montessori kindergarten, which coincidentally is more or less down the block from our present-day house.
(One is of my refusing to partake in nap time, instead preferring to gossip with the teachers about their social lives. Oh, five-year-old me, always the middle-aged adult.)
The only classroom memory that really sticks out has a lot to do with the Montessori method of pedagogy, which is basically to let kids loose in an environment with a number of potential learning activities to discover things for themselves. Our room had a number of low shelves on the wall with different sorts of things – blocks or puzzles or dioramas, and we could pick up whatever suited us.
In my memory, I picked up a small model of a mountain and an accompanying lake. I’m not sure what I was supposed to do with it or learn from it … maybe something about evaporation or the source of rivers or glaciers? Clearly it didn’t make a huge impact.
What did make an impact is essentially, “WTF, what a weird thing to play with as a kindergartner.”
(We also learned about fractions by slicing apples at lunch, which I then declined to eat because they had already begun to oxidize. Oh, five-year-old me, always the fussy one.)
Fast forward to modern me sitting in my recording studio. It’s not just a studio, really, but our converted attic which serves as studio, gear depot, and hang-out lounge. There’s a lot to do there. I could mix our newly-recorded vocals on the Arcati Crisis EP. I could rearrange my pedals to work on a new signal chain. I could make more lead sheets for Smash Fantastic. Or, I could just play music on an number of guitars, basses, or keyboards.
I decided to rehearse to my vocal warmups and then make some new playlists for my commute. Afterwards, I moved onto other open activity rooms like my office and the kitchen.
That’s my whole life right now. Once I get home from work and fulfill a few basic needs like laundry or grocery shopping I’m free to play. I’m still roaming from room to room, picking up new things and learning about them, then working with them for a certain amount of time.
That’s just my nature. Or, is it my “nuture”? It looks a lot like the model of my two years of Montessori schooling. Now my interests are a little more specialized – I still don’t know too much about mountains or rivers, but I know a lot more about words and music.
I’ve been learning and schooling and rehearsing all this time just to get back to what my days were like at age five, when all I wanted to do at age five was grow up.