Wayne Bowman, tacit knowing and the joy of discovery

Today I found Wayne Bowman’s thesis exploring Michael Polanyi’s theory of tacit knowledge. Completed in 1980, Bowman asks “what implications does Polanyi’s theory of tacit knowledge bear for music instruction?” and “how may the recognition of tacit knowing serve to substantiate the educational import of musical experience?”

Well. I wish I had read this earlier. As I stumbled – literally – over this thesis (the snowball effect took me from Burwell-Polanyi-tacit knowing in music-Reese-Bowman KAPOW) I began to cry because not only is Wayne Bowman a wonderful writer and philosopher whom I greatly admire but he articulated in his introduction precisely that which I have thought in the years I have been doing my PhD. That by concentrating on the concrete, tangible and quantifiable aspects of music instruction we miss out on the ineffable, joyful, awe inspiring roots of meaningful learning that I believe is central to teaching music. And it is this which I am trying to unpack.

Does this mean that at heart I am a philosopher? Perhaps. Not a very good one, because I can’t argue my position out loud. I’m terrible at it. I’m better at writing what I think. I get terribly tied into knots and there are plenty of much better thinkers out there who seem to be able to untangle the vagaries of philosophical thought much better than I can.

At any rate, I’ve read some of Bowman’s work before and he has moved on somewhat since these early days so I hadn’t made the connection. Oh, boy.

I’m back in the joy of discovery mode. (Now, how to weave this into my literature review… gah!)

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Using reference system APA 6 is a B***H !!!!

OMG APA 6 is horrible. I thought I knew APA pretty well, but APA 6 just blows it all out of the water. For goodness’ sake, how many different referencing approaches can we fling together in this ghastly system?

*If you didn’t already know, I am a tutor for a few Uni courses at my workplace and I get to mark them as well, oh joy, oh rapture.

So, here I am marking 60-odd annotated bibliographies (marking is not an issue for me unless it exceeds 100 papers), and every new paper I open I have to go and research whether they have followed APA 6 protocols and formatting. EVERY SINGLE PAPER. Because if it’s not a book it’s a journal, and if it’s a video it’s something else, and if it’s online with an ISSN or DOI or URL it’s different AGAIN. And don’t get me started on newspaper articles and online encyclopaedias and MUSIC SCORES. Because music scores aren’t represented in APA 6. At all. WHO THE and WHAT THE?????

I OWN the APA 6 publication manual. Since APA 4 (forget about 5, we all have) protocols have changed for some pp. and not others. For example, you use pp. in an edited volume, but not in a journal. You use pp. in the in text citation but not in a magazine reference. Gah.

And then I need to go check the referencing tools at about 6 universities as one tool is simply not enough. Gah.

Oh, BTW, American Psychological Association, consider yourselves lucky that we in music research use your referencing system and for Pete’s sake give us some musical scores and manuscript options!!!!!!

Rant over. Back to marking.

(ps I’m a little bit ill today – took the day off yesterday and stayed at home, sitting down studying, thought I would be fine today and all was going quite well but got to work and worked with one student for 30 minutes and gave up. Felt all weird and dizzy and faint. So I’m home again, marking and doing PhD work. Because I don’t feel so bad when I’m sitting down.)

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The recursive nature of narrative analysis

I found this draft in my drafts folder and thought it looked pretty good. Plus, it’s short.

I’ve been writing up my discussion chapter. It’s getting big. I’m a bit of a word count freak as my institution is a stickler for theses not exceeding 80000 words, but I’m thinking this is getting a little close, even for me. I’m 5000 words down, which is only putting down all the things my participants said and did in the study without even beginning to analyse them. There’s lots to analyse. This could blow out.

I found in this analytical process it was necessary to go back to my narratives – which I had thought to all intents and purposes were finished. They weren’t. They were a bit overblown and weren’t getting to the nub of the concepts I was trying to discuss. I’m not sure, even after spending the best part of 2 weeks cleaning them up, that my final product is any less awkward, but I can’t really see a way through to express all the findings I want to express without referring to their data in the way that I have. I am a story-teller, but each of these stories have 2 big characters and a substantial mise en scene I am struggling to set.

So now I’m discovering the recursive nature of this narrative approach. Just as I think I’ve pulled from the data all the stuff I’ve found, I realise that in my haste to reduce bloat I’ve removed some vital link between culture and environment or something. Ugh. But recursion is surely the name of the game in this approach. Or is it like this for all research?

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School holidays = PhD study bliss

The title is a misnomer. I’m not actually on holidays. But my afternoon teaching has stopped for the school holidays and while I’m still working at Uni, I’m usually home in time to do some afternoon study.

So I’ve started to look once more at a few things. Such as my Methods chapter. And my Conclusion. Both of which are Not Quite Right. I’ve had fun rewriting them over the last couple of days and it’s easy to see how close I am to actually getting this thing submitted, because they are nearly ready for re-reading by my supervisor.

I’m still dodging round the misery that is my Literature Review. As I said to DH, I don’t have a good Big Picture plan, so the lit review remains awfully sparse and horrible. I was reading in Research Design by Creswell (2014) about how to create a concept map, and I did one of those AGES ago, but I might have another go to see if I can’t get this literature under control.

I’ve missed the ease and joy of doing this type of work. My brain has definitely switched onto PhD study mode and I feel eager to get home and write after I’ve finished teaching for the day. Curiously, the relatively mild amount of teaching I do at Uni when my studio is closed for holidays seems to be completely manageable in terms of brain power. That being said, I have completely given up on keeping the house clean. There are others who can do that. I’ve apologised and will get back to housework in August, once I’ve submitted. There are always areas that I have to abandon in order to finish this work! Besides, I have to beat my sister, who only began her PhD 2.5 years ago. I began mine in 2009. Time to pull out the stops and get a wriggle on, and put a Dr next to my name.

At present I’m studying up to 4 hours a day. Feels good. 3 weeks of this and my literature might actually start to look like something.

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My new studio!

Well, ok, it’s not my new studio, it’s my current one remodelled to enable my daughter to have her own room. In other words, I lose space. But while it’s long and thin, I think we’ve made it work very well.

Today my hubby and I returned home after a lovely indulgent weekend on the Sunshine coast hinterland to a house a little hysterically small and overflowing with books. My studio held 4 of those ugly but crazily useful Ikea bookcases and they were full to overflowing, so trying to shoehorn all those bookcases into a smaller area was awful. In the end we came up with some good solutions and now my studio is clean, tidy and surprisingly large given that we’ve lost 6 square metres. We removed the largest bookcase from the room and I upended another so that it sits vertically, not horizontally against the wall. We took out another small bookcase, I’ve remodelled the entry and now folks enter from the lounge room. It’s not ideal because we have to keep the house super tidy – no dirty dishes lurking in the sink! But I think this will work nicely. It feels new and fresh and all the surfaces are clean at last.

Hubby and I went shopping for a glass topped desk in a vain attempt to reduce visual bulk without success but I think I’ve solved the problem of my large desk by sliding it to the left away from the door. It’s out of the way of the students and better suited to my space now.

A nice spring clean in preparation for my last gasp to the finish line with my PhD. So, it’s after midnight here, and I have a full day of teaching tomorrow, plus proofs of my book to correct and send back. But at least I can work in my space now! No more excuses, I believe my supervisor would say, rather drily.

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It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to

Hysterical with exhaustion, my 44th birthday yesterday was celebrated at the end of a VERY long day, with wine and good food and my husband and daughter.

Like many folk who teach music for a living my work is peripatetic and sporadic, therefore like all good musicians I rarely say no to any job. So it is I’ve found myself teaching singing 4 full days a week this year from 8.30am – 7.00pm with only a 30 minute lunch break most days. I’m told the best thing to do is ask a busy person to do something because they will make time to do it, and so it was with me. Found myself on Wednesday teaching singing for 4 hours, then tutoring music history for 3, then teaching singing for another 3 hours, with only enough time to drive to each venue before starting afresh. In that time I managed to write 4 quite important emails, redraft an essay question for 1st year music students, have several discussions with colleagues, then go out to celebrate my birthday.

I was so tired I frankly got quite merry on 2 glasses of wine. Unlike me – I’m a complete lush normally.

So, at the end of a frankly exhausting week, reeling slightly under the weight of not quite enough sleep and too much 1-2-1 singing teaching, my lovely hubby is taking me away for the weekend to a country mountain retreat. I’m taking my computer. He promises me there is no wireless, but I’ve assured him I don’t need it: I’m doing a lit review, not checking email! But before I get to spend this much-needed time with hubby, I have to meet with my supervisor, who will no doubt look at my rather paltry attempts to write my literature and discussion chapters and laugh and point.

Oh, well. It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.

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How NOT to do a PhD.

How NOT to do a PhD. Do full time work, that’s how. Full time work that makes one so tired that most of the weekend is spent lying on the couch feeling rather blah.

I’m exhausted, my literature review needs to be completely rewritten and I’ve not even LOOKED at my discussion chapter since I put it down 10 days ago.

Does this surprise me? Nope. Trying to drag myself to the finish line was always going to be like this. Blergh.

At least my discussion chapter lays out pretty clearly the 5 main areas I now need to reshape in my literature review. But I’m also at the point where I feel like I’m 16 again and procrastinating like crazy not doing homework I hate. I don’t have the luxury of putting off my work any more so I’ll be spending most evenings on the couch with my computer trying to make sense of my literature. I think I’ll just completely rewrite it, brand new pages and everything.

I’m grumpy as hell about doing this thing, mainly because I’m a big picture person and I’m being forced to do small picture stuff – editing, rewriting, REFERENCING. Man, I hate doing references. And don’t get me started on EndNote. It’s crap, ok?


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