Do I need school to be...

a musical parenting coach? with Ekanem Ebinne

February 17, 2022 Alex Villacís Season 1 Episode 24
Do I need school to be...
a musical parenting coach? with Ekanem Ebinne
Show Notes Transcript

Welcome back to my journey into understanding coaches! Just kidding! This show is and will always be about teaching creative and I'm so honoured to have this week on the pod someone who is educating the most creative humans, babies! And teaching nothing other than music. Yes, you read correctly. Ekanem is musician and musical educator for babies and very young kids. Music was always a part of her life but it wasn't until her mentor suggested this path that she ventured into creating her own curriculum. Come and listen to her amazing journey!

On this interview we spoke about:

  • Her very musical upbringing
  • How one comment from her mentor changed everything for her
  • How she put together her own apprenticeship by following her curiosity
  • Finding a treasure chest of knowledge
  • The documentary she is working on
  • The ups and down of teaching through a screen
  • Her experience getting a PhD

Want to learn more about Ekanem? Here are some links:
Website
Linkedin
Instagram
Her free weekly event on Clubhouse
Her episode on ‘Honey! I’m homeschooling the kids’
Check out her current offer, Vocal Freedom for Parents

Ekanem’s recommendation, some books about Music Learning Theory by Dr. Edwin E. Gordon:
Music learning theory for newborn and young children
Music Play: A Major Curriculum for Early Childhood Music!
Learning Sequences in Music (2012 Edition)

In an effort to make this podcast accessible, we make transcripts of every episode. You’ll find the transcripts on our website here

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Ekanem Ebinne:

But when I graduated from college, I wasn't really sure what to do. And so I was talking with a really trusted mentor. And she told me, why don't you teach music for young children? I said, why?

Alex Villacis:

Hello, friend. And welcome back to another episode of joining, it's going to be the podcast in which me Alex is going to sit down with creatives and ask them about their journey into the creative field, focusing on their education, the teachers who shaped them, the boxer shaped in the movies, in general, what their journey was like. If you're somebody who is thinking about entering the creative field, I hope this job will be a resource to you and show you that we all have different paths, and they are all valid. So let's go. On today's episode, I'm talking to a cannon a bean Academy is an amazing woman she is working on teaching music to the most creative beings on the planet, babies. I know it sounded crazy when I first heard it. But in this episode, we talked about her methods to teach babies through a screen, the perks of learning music at a young age, how learning music can actually help us develop. And more than that, how she learned how she got on this journey, how she created her own education, just following her curiosity and picking up little golden nuggets here and there. This is a great conversation. I really love getting this chance to talk to her. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. And here is my conversation with ekanem. Hi, Ed CanAm. How are you today?

Ekanem Ebinne:

Hi, I'm really happy to be here. Alex, thank you for having me. How are you?

Alex Villacis:

I'm good. It's been a it's been a good day. I'm excited to have you on the podcast. We spoke before on clubhouse where we were pitching you this show. And yeah, I love your story. I think it's extremely interesting. And I look forward to getting deep into it and to bring the audience along. So to start, who are you and what are you currently working on? Well, great. Yes, as

Ekanem Ebinne:

I said, my name is Ken and Adina. I am a developmental music specialist. And I have been working as a music teacher for babies through age five for about 15 years. And I used to do it in person with only a few exceptions. But now I do it online. And now instead of working just with babies in the preschool, or just with families in my studio, I actually work one on one with parents and children on Zoom. And I also do some live YouTube group, sing alongs and play along online. And so I do those two things. And I'm also in the process of beginning to do some coaching that isn't just teaching music for young children. It's actually teaching parents how to use music as a tool if their emergency home schooling and also running a business from home. So that's who I am. And

Alex Villacis:

that sounds like a dream job. Honestly, teaching babies music. And it sounds also so necessary and so helpful. I think we have as a society forgotten, like how important and how enriching music can be in early development.

Ekanem Ebinne:

Yeah, and I think that the thing that I enjoy about what I'm doing is that I had a background with a lot of music, in my upbringing. And so I think because of all of the cultural contrast between what was happening at my home, and what was happening in my school and at my church, and then later on what was happening in organisations like some auditioned choirs and orchestras, there were so many different kinds of music that I did, that were formal and informal. And so bringing all of that to the way that I teach right now, I think the most remarkable thing that is changed for me was, instead of thinking of teaching music as a way to help children's development, I actually think of music as a part of children's development, I think of music as a cognitive capacity of people. And so, I think of music as a way of communicating with children and a way of teaching children how to understand themselves and understand the people and the world around them. More than I think of, especially at this very young age, more than I think of teaching music as handing them a skill or a technical ability. So what I've really found is that almost everybody feels something emotional when I tell them, Oh, I work with young children. It seems universal that everyone feels a connection to what I'm saying that I do.

Alex Villacis:

And that says this realisation how to get here so you just mentioned that you had a very musical upbringing with music all around you and a lot of influences. But how did you get from point A to where you are now?

Ekanem Ebinne:

Wow, that's a huge question. I'm gonna take me basically, the story of my life. So when I was a girl, I would say, most of the music that I did was in my church. So I was a part of a church that was Pentecostal and charismatic. So the way that we met together, the way that we had our ceremony together was really a lot based on emotion and music especially. And so we did a lot of singing with instruments. But we also did a lot of free singing. So a lot of singing that was sort of improvised. And that was sort of, not necessarily along with the hymnbook, right. And so a lot of free harmony, a lot of impromptu solo, stuff like that. And so that experience being not only informal, but also involving the community and involving a community, an emotional community, a spiritual community, people who sort of had one intention together and people who also were seeking something in the moment, like, each time we came together, we were seeking to have a revelation, we were seeking to have an experience together a spiritual experience together, and also collective experience, you know, that experience of of having those those sort of really intensely musical times together in the context of this congregation, that was a really big part of my musical upbringing. And so, I had alongside of that, when I started around eight years old, taking violin lessons, I was taking formal lessons in a project called the String Project, which was, I think, at that time, quite new, it was run by the University in my town, and it was to teach children who might not otherwise have access to classical education, how to play strings, and also how to play them quite young. Like I said, I was eight years old. And they also emphasise musical independence, they wanted us to be able to memorise songs and be able to play them in ensembles, but with, like I say, a kind of independence. And, and then I was also a side from that group, I was also recruited to a group called strolling strings. And again, it was at a very young age for us to be able to perform at restaurants and other events where we were sort of walking around in the restaurant and playing together as a crew. But again, at a young age, which does require a lot of independence. And so I had those, those two very formative experiences in music, one formal and one informal. And then, of course, in my school, we had teachers who were using as the ORF approach to music education, which really focuses on using cultural music. So music that has meaning to the culture, to teach the elements of music to children, so to teach rhythm to teach tonality to teach tunefulness and to teach harmony to kids. So I guess that's three different three different ways that that I started out in music. And I did not go on to get a degree in music education. So while I was doing all this music as a girl, so I was doing the violin, and then I was, I was also singing a lot. And then as time went on, I started doing things as a little girl, like the all city choir. And then through my church, I was doing something called the Fine Arts Festival, which meant we got to learn songs together and then compete regionally and even nationally, you know, with other choirs was really, really cool. And that was through elementary school and high school. And then also, I started playing the flute until I was getting banned, I got to do marching band in middle school in high school, which, I mean, that's kind of like an epic American thing, I think, you know, that that line is one time Bandcamp when you do marching band is very becomes like a really big part of your personal history. So anyway, that was a lot of music, making a lot of different kinds of music making. And then I was really lucky in high school to be part of the St. Louis Children's Choir, which is, which was a really cool choir where the educational approach was actually codeine. And so we really got a lot of ear training a lot, a lot, a lot of ear training there, you know, singing in tune, but also being able to sing an ensemble and half again that that musical independence was understanding. So when I think about all these experiences, and then again, when I think about the fact that when I got to college, I in fact, did not do a degree in flute performance. I didn't do a degree in music education. So As I said that I didn't do that, because I think, wow, I could have really gotten a lot out of that if I had gone to college and, and done the music education degree. But I think the way that that all actually came together for me was that when I graduated from college, I did a degree in psychology. And then my focus at the end was in visual perception. I was part of a really cool visual perception lab with an amazing, amazing director, he, he's a professor who's still my friend now, and I'll talk about him a little bit later, because I'm trying to make this story makes sense. And I'm telling you, but when I graduated from college, I wasn't really sure what to do. And so I was talking with a really trusted mentor. And she told me, why don't you teach music for young children? I said, why? And this thing is, in tears when I was a girl I had taught in our version of Girl Scouts, I taught a little girls when I was still a girl, myself. And in college as my work study job. I had been tutoring kids at an elementary school. So I'd always taught even though not having had a teaching degree. And I'd always been doing music as I told you, but the idea of putting them together, never occurred to me until she said that. And so that's exactly what I told her. I was like, No, I can't do that. She's like, listen to try it. So since he was someone I trusted, and it really seemed to have sort of that fire of revelation at the moment when she sent it was like, hold. It was like shocking, like, unbelievable, but then also very believable at the same time, you know, when she told me that? I said, Okay, I'll try it. And believe it or not, I like, put out some ads. I think it was Craigslist at the time. And I also printed out some flyers and went to, you know, the local Montessori schools and stuff like that and said, Oh, I'm teaching music for a little kid. And believe it or not, within a few weeks, I had a group of people at first I was teaching at my home. And then I read was renting space at a local Montessori School. And then I started renting space at a dance studio. And then the school where I was renting space asked me if I would become their music teacher. So that's kind of how I got from there to here. Yeah, but I think philosophically what happened for me was that because I was teaching very young children, I was teaching preschoolers. I was looking into books that reminded me of how I had been taught when I was young, you know that the orange education I got in my public school, and the code I education I got in my children's choir, and I was looking in the library for these resources to see okay, how do I build lesson plans that, you know, will help me do a good job for these children? And I wasn't finding anything about very, very young children. So I was like, I can't find anything in the library. What do I do? So then I sought out some teachers in my community. I was in Houston, Texas at the time. Some senior teachers, there was one man who was teaching at a magnet school, music magnet school, he was teaching strings for kindergarteners, which is unusual. So I asked if I could come in. Yeah, I know, it was pretty awesome. He was pretty awesome. So I asked if I could come and observe his class. And he was, he was really happy for me to do that. So I went and observed his class and just like, soak in as much as I could, from the way that he worked with the kids, and then also asking as many questions as I could. And then I sought out someone who was doing a kinder music type of thing at a local church where I had actually been a staff singer at this church. And so I asked if I could observe her classes, and I went and saw how she was doing this very specific kind of, sort of your training for young children, but in conjunction with their parents watched her class. And then I asked to observe another teacher who was teaching in the prep division of the conservatory at my university, because I wanted to see how that wave was done. And she was happy for me to come as well, because she would do these concerts with musicians from the university. And then also the kids who were in her in her classes with their with their parents went to see how she did things. And so I kind of put together my own apprenticeship in a way but by by visiting those teachers and observing them and asking them a million, bazillion questions, and then again, there was still that question of where do I find curriculum? Where do I find books that can help me philosophically understand how very young children learn music and then also practically understand how to build lesson plans, you know, and looking through a library looking for the library couldn't find anything in the process. I'm asking at the Montessori school where they hired me and asking them lady who was teaching big kids. And she said, Oh, I have some things from you from when I used to teach little kids music. And I'm retiring. And she gave me this gigantic cardboard box full of all of her books. It was like, like finding a treasure chest in the in the ocean. It was like, how did this happen? How did I get so lucky. And some of the books that were in there, there was one book in there, that's called sing it yourself. And it's this book that was published in the 70s. So it had that old like, sort of orange and brown kind of like monotone printing, like illustration on the friend. And it was the songs that were graded. Most of them were pentatonic songs, that they were graded by the vocal range of the children, and they were all focused on. So they were all songs that had this deep meaning that reminded me of the way I've been taught in elementary school, and also reminded me a little bit about the ways that the music in my church was so cultural, and so real to me, you know. And now, if you look for this book on Amazon, it cost 200 bucks, because it's way out of print. It's been out of print for decades. And it's it's hard to find unless you go to a library. So I see your mouth is like wide open. It's like, I was so fortunate that that just magically happened for me. And there were lots of other like, wonderful books in that box included, including including one book by Miss cherry called Think of something quiet, which was a book by a woman from California, who, again, back in the 70s, was trying to think of ways that she could link social emotional learning to music learning, so she was really like, kooky, but cool, you know, and this was all like, really, I was vibing with all this stuff, you know. And then the next thing that happens for me, you know, book wise, like finding finding stuff that has been sort of rigorously done and written down and had some kind of accountability was finally in the library. I told the librarian, we don't have anything in the whole city of hughster Harris County that relates to babies and young children, learning music and how they learn all this stuff is for like early elementary kindergarten, but there's nothing about babies and young children. And they said, Well, why don't you try for some interlibrary loan, and you should search the catalogue like this. So then I learned how to search for books that were outside of our library system. And I found some books by this really brilliant man, he was a music psychologist, and also music musician and music teacher and music teaching philosopher named Dr. Edwin Gordon. And he had been doing years and years of research into how babies and young children really learn music when they learn music. And when I hit that book, his first book was a theory of, of music learning for young children from for newborns and young children. And I hit that book that I was like, oh, here, it finally is, it took a few weeks to come by interlibrary loan, then I was like, oh, no, here it is. This is it. So that I started ordering more and more books that is by interlibrary loan. And then I was like, No, I need to buy these for myself. So I started buying them. And then I was like, wait a minute, I can't be the only one who's fascinated by this. Because the books that were the books were all quite new. So I started looking more into who were the authors and where they were. And it turns out that you could get training in how to actually apply these books, because I was finding a lot of value in the book, they were talking about how children have a very specific range and very specific relation of the kinds of tones that they can learn and how they can understand them in different contexts. And the kinds of rhythm patterns they can learn and how they can learn them sequentially to become really strong improvisers and, and composers and thinkers and listeners in music. And I was like, Yes, this makes sense. Yes, I feel that I feel that I feel it. But I'm missing something. So when I found those people and found that they were doing these training programmes, I was like, I have to go. So I did two different summers of graduate level training intensive graduate level training with multiple professors where we were being recorded, and then you know, tested and we actually were teaching actual children's no pressure, actual children we'd never met before training. So I went through this, you know, all this stress of all this teaching and learning and it was so worth it for me. So that's kind of how I got from the beginning to where I am now and hold on one second. I need to get a drink of water and probably also take a breath.

Alex Villacis:

No worries, no worries. I mean, I think writing down like questions and notes for myself. But I think my main question is, when he Stan will be coming out.

Ekanem Ebinne:

Oh you're so funny. Well, speaking of movies, last year, I started a documentary project and the documentary project is about how a lot of music teachers began to adapt to the restrictions related to COVID-19. So I started a year ago, September, September of 2020, interviewing teachers in Portugal and in Sweden because I was teaching music in Sweden last year, and teachers who I knew already in the United States, and plus a friend of a friend of a friend who I didn't know, but he, he told her, she should definitely take part in this in this documentary project. And so I interviewed them all, mostly about, like I say, the adaptations they've made their feelings about their, their students, and about the things they've had to do to begin to teach online, but also to teach in person, you know, with different adaptations. And, and so I'm not done yet this year, I'd like to do sort of where are they now kind of thing to wrap up the project. And then also, the music for that project is by someone who I met when I was singing with opera in the heist, which is a small Opera Company in Houston. That's the size. As I told you, I was still performing I was I was performing doing music somehow not just teaching music. And he agreed to be the Compose soundtrack of the documentary once I get it edited, and stuff like that. So as far as a movie, I am also interviewed, like, what I, what I did to adapt to COVID, and how it was me in Sweden. So that's going to be the movie aspect, I guess, what I would I do? I mean,

Alex Villacis:

I that's super interesting. And I think there'll be so valuable for so many people around the world seeing like, how the arts could be adapted during COVID. I mean, I would, I wouldn't know how to teach somebody to play an instrument through their computer without being able to sit next to them. So it's such a creative education has such a touch a haptic aspect to that to the feeling, how do you emote feelings? How do you catch somebody's feelings through a computer? I had a guest. He was a second episode, his name is roll half height, and he's a music teacher and a musician himself. And he was talking about that, like, how do you reach out to somebody, when you have them face to face? How you reach out to he teaches teenagers? How do you reach out to a teenager? And I am just sitting here thinking, how do you get a baby to focus, let alone how to get them to focus through a screen. It's I'm just amazed, and I have so many questions. And also I love how in your story, it just came full circle that you found this treasure chest with music, with books and music and materials that reminded you of how you were taught when you were younger. So yeah, again, who's making the movie? Who's playing you? Who's directing? I have so many questions. And yes, awesome. Sounds like you had also amazing teachers like people who really shaped you. And I have four in mind, the one that said, Hey, why don't you think about this and put you in this path. Then the one that gave you the tools, then the ones who started I love how you started picking things and making your own curriculum. Sometimes in formal education, you get a syllabus, and it's like that's set for you. But you got the chance to design it yourself and to see what fits you best. Like question there would be the way you're always following your curiosity. And was it a step by step? Or did you have in your mind a set of things that you wanted to learn was it like, or how organic was it?

Ekanem Ebinne:

I think it definitely was organic, it definitely kind of unfolded. I knew I always wanted to capture that feeling of connection that I have. And when I was young, I always wanted it to be not a situation of you know, sitting facing forward in a chair. But I always wanted it to feel like it was something that was holistic something that was relational something that was full body, which Gordon Music Learning Theory, his whole body, they focus on how you're breathing and the way you move your body and the way you control your weight and the flow of your body as well as the flow of your breath when you're thinking of music and making music. How important it is how important it is even from a very young age. I knew it all. Even before I found out about music learning theory I always knew I wanted something that was holistic something that was that wasn't just technical and look at the board look we have the staff and five lines you know, so there was always that guiding principle and for the media to be meaningful and mean something between us but as far as like knowing oh, I want to learn XYZ it unfolded like you said it was very like everything that happened was somewhat magical was it was somewhat unexpected or yeah synchronistic

Alex Villacis:

sounds like you said synchronistic Miss almost mystical to be Hey, friend, it's Alex just interrupting this conversation to remind you that in order to have the optimal experience and enjoy all the links in the show notes, you can subscribe to the show on any platform you're using to listen to this podcast. And yeah, it supports the show, he will improve the algorithm for us, we will show you more shows like this one you will potentially like. And if you wish to support the show, you can follow us on social media, all the links are in the show notes, as well as a link to buy me a coffee, which Yeah, will help pay for the hosting. And I also love coffee. But enough, my babble, let's get back to the show.

Ekanem Ebinne:

In the early years, especially for very young babies, most of what we're doing is trying to become attuned to the baby. So that when we have sort of fun, we're sharing the same time and we're sharing the same eye contact, and we're sharing the same breath. And when our heartbeats are coordinated, from there, that's when we can start making suggestions about sound. So that's when we can start hearing their suggestions and helping them tune them to what we might be interested in, you know, and evolving. Something like that, if it's listening is only one way you actually have less to work with, you know, if there's less information, you can create something with, and and you kind of hamstring, the kids, you're giving them you're giving them a really, really stripped down impoverished education because they need to be able to hear themselves, and then also hear themselves in relation to you to build something that's really robust and sustainable as far as their music understanding and their music making. So that open and listening and reciprocal respectful relationship is so important. As I said, especially in the early years that yeah, and a lot of people, especially when they first came into my studio, parents who came from more formal backgrounds, Western formal Western backgrounds, they seem to think it was their responsibility to make the child exactly copy me. And so it took some time for me to explain to them that it's actually my responsibility to listen to the child and watch the child and provide ways for them to come closer to me. And it's also their responsibility. And a lot of people didn't like that, because it requires a lot of investment in the parents, if they haven't been listening and paying attention, to start listening more. And to start listening for more time. That's something that a lot of people when they're working with young children don't do enough of is give enough time between when you're talking, and you stop talking. And the next time you start talking for the kids to hear, and also respond. So all of those things, I think, are things that people resist, because they're not used to it. And because they don't realise that it actually works better in the long run. Hope I'm not going on too far of a tangent away from what you were saying. But I think after having a lot of private in person tuning into the kids, that person tuning into their micro expressions on their faces, the positions of their body, their their movements, their their set the sounds of their body that might be vocal or otherwise, that that aren't necessarily voice. So mouth sounds and other sounds like that sounds of their breath that also aren't voice. After having years of doing that, it makes it a lot easier for me to make inferences about what they're doing when I'm looking across a camera and across a screen. So there's a lot of intuition that's built from all of that experience that lets me that lets me do that across the screen, and also be able to catch their attention across the screen with some of the tricks that I learned from being a person. And another thing about screen screens. Just going back to the question you were asking before, that's this, you understand how I got here. Another thing about screens is that we all know that during one of the one of the downsides of screen time is that kids seem to get mesmerised by screens to the point where it's like all of their attention or consciousness is in the device that they're looking at, instead of being able to focus on their physical world and the people around them, like for example, their parents calling their name. So actually, that's an advantage and a benefit when teaching kids online because they're looking at a screen and that holds their attention and even their body position in a way that it wouldn't necessarily be held. If we were in person. It's almost like it gives it put the blinders on them that they're less distractible when we're on the screen. So there are lots of downsides. You know, there's lots that we lose, but there are some things that we can gain or something's that kind of balanced that

Alex Villacis:

I never had. I never thought about it like that. I honestly never thought about it like that about the possible benefits of having music education through a screen. And, and sounds like you as a teacher have a lot of like this this intuitive like comes from your experience come from like learning all these, like you said these micro expressions and dispositions and garner Gordon Music Learning Theory. i When we spoke last on clubhouse, I, you mentioned that you felt sometimes very insecure about the fact that you didn't have a formal degree in early developmental music education. And that it was it was Was it him? Who told you? It's fine? It's better that you don't have it?

Ekanem Ebinne:

Well, yeah, exactly. So. So as I was telling you, because of the graduate work that I did, learning his theory, I was inspired them to start a PhD, where I started doing some more research, as I was telling you before. And so that would be the only the only like, formal developmental training that I had. But when I started learning about him, I was lucky that I, at the time, became the regional director of the Early Childhood music and movement Association. I was in Texas, and so our region covered the Missouri, Kansas, Texas, Arkansas, and Mexico. And I took that opportunity, since it was my responsibility to convene our regional conference, I took that opportunity to invite Dr. Gordon as our keynote speaker. And it was very audacious of the nerve of me, right.

Alex Villacis:

I love it. Yeah, I was lucky to be no regional director. It's a huge chunk of country. It's a huge chunk of space. And then of course, it will take your invitation. I mean, of course,

Ekanem Ebinne:

I was very, I was very fortunate. But also, like I said, very nervy to ask him to come and he did come. And I'm lucky because he's actually recently passed away that way, a couple of years ago. So I was lucky that I got to meet him. And I met him at the airport and got, you know, drove him around town. And I got to spend, you know, personal time with him apart from the time when he was at a conference speaking. So I was really fortunate. But so we were talking and I did tell him at one point, I said, you know, one thing I have to admit to you is that I've always been disappointed that I didn't get a degree in music education. And he did say he said, Oh, that's okay. Usually the people who already have degrees in music education are just really resistant to music learning theory anyway, because it's still new. And people like to go with what they know, you know. And so I found that, so encouraging coming from him, you know, that's, that really raised my self esteem, as far as my teaching. And as far as, you know, feeling that I had the right or that I had, that I had, that it was legit, for me, you know, to keep going forward with learning what he had to teach. And with applying it

Alex Villacis:

sounds like the greatest experience that you can have having somebody that you admire so much. validate your journey, and validate your work. And not that you need anybody's validation in the end. And most importantly, she's the one that you keep yourself. But it must be nice. It must be nice to have somebody you have been learning from and whose teachings you have taken so close to heart suddenly say, Yeah, you're on the right path. How many of his books had you read at that time?

Ekanem Ebinne:

Probably at least four. And then plus some that he co wrote with? There was one called Music playing that he was like an advisor on with, with another person who was a professor of mine as well. Yeah, so at least for right

Alex Villacis:

now, um, I don't, I'm trying to think who would be like my version of him. I don't know. I'm just like, very starstruck by our experience. I'm starstruck through you. Because I don't know. I probably would not be able to keep my cool. And you. You mentioned, you also mentioned that you're doing a PhD, you will be the second person so far in this show. Who is in the PhD sphere? How Selten that's the formal education piece that you got. How is that going? How do you feel about the experience?

Ekanem Ebinne:

Well, I congratulate that other person, I hope, I hope that they've had a good journey. My journey has been really colourful and is sort of is sort of on a pause right now. So when I first started out, I looked for a programme that had a heavy leaning on Dr. Gordon's work, and there aren't very many of those, to be honest. The one that I found was overseas in Portugal and In the as the process of things wound out, it turns out that I was woefully out of sync with the advisor that I had there just I mean, it was ethically bad. It was dark side of everything, our relationship and how that advisory relationship sort of evolved. And so what ended up happening was I put that on hold. So I did my coursework, and then I started, I wrote my, my proposal, you know, that first paid paper, you have to write a 20 page paper saying, oh, yeah, this is going to be how there's going to be a doozy guys, you're gonna love it.

Alex Villacis:

Yes, you be ready. It's a 20 page trailer, a 10 hour movie,

Ekanem Ebinne:

exactly. movie that will change your life and change the world. And then I defended that, and they accepted it like, okay, now I have a registered, you know, these topic, let's get going. And I started doing their search, I got into the initial data. And then the way that the relationship with my advisor went, everything just sort of came to a halt. And, you know, I took I took a semester abroad from they're doing an Erasmus project in England, that was related, but not exactly the same. And after that happened, it was like, this is not, the relationship with that advisor is not going to work out and this PhD is not going to work out, it's not working out. And it felt like a waste that felt like a really huge loss of all that time and writing and research and study. But I would say that there's a positive thing that come about it, which is now a couple of years later, I found myself in a relationship with another scholar, who actually got me a really big grants to do a related project, but in the states in the US. And that's going to start next year. So I'm really, really happy because after that project, the relationship, the way that that grant was written, is supposed to actually reorient me so that I can get into another PhD programme that will be better suited. So I can publish, I can, I can learn some new software, I can learn some new skills, I can even take a few brush up courses, and then sort of relaunch myself. And that's a part of the deal of this grant, not just being able to do the project is the project related to music in early childhood, especially as it relates to mental health, but also to have the mentorship and to have the career guidance, and the skilling the upskilling. So that's where that is now, PhD journey has taken a pause, but it's about to

Alex Villacis:

you know what, I love that this is the journey. I mean, yes, had it's bad. It's bad parts. But I really want it you were worried less than we spoke, you were saying like, Yeah, but it wasn't so great. I don't want to deter anybody from doing a PhD or say some of those would be the podcast, because that's it. The thing is that we all have different journeys. And you had a tutor, advisor dash teacher who was not so great, but that put you on a different path to something better. Sometimes we think that we have to like start a degree Oh, a year in, I don't like it. But hey, I started it's now I have to finish it. You don't have to finish anything. If it doesn't fit you, it doesn't fit you. And many times we think in formal education has taught us to think that we have to finish things and we have to follow us that path. You don't have to follow anybody's path by your own and in your the perfect example of that of things didn't go the way you expected. But hey, you landed in a much better place. Sounds like it sounds like you're very excited about this new endeavour to use a very fancy word that I that I just found out how to spell correctly today. So I'm very excited for me wrong for years. I thought there was an A there somewhere for some reason. And I thought I was this day Oh, I know I was these days or when I realised how the word was properly spelled. So I still have to Google. Now I have to look it up. Because I'm sure that I'm not. I honestly like that's also the thing. I think we're all constantly learning. And we're all going to have knowledge gaps. I used to have to google how to spell exercise every time I need to spell it. Because it just won't go in it just Yeah, it's like eternal students. Things happen. You learn new things, you find amazing teachers that can happen to you. And I'm sure that if you found another amazing teacher, you would go back to the student mindset be like please teach me more. Please let me learn more. And now yeah. And now we are here. And my question for you is where do you see education going in the future? Because you had a very Special path, a very magical and mystical path of being able to choose your own education and find amazing teachers, shadow them ask questions. Do you think this is something that will be in the future available to more people now that we have the internet, this type of like zoom interactions and so on, find mentors on the other side of the world? How do you think it will develop? Yeah,

Ekanem Ebinne:

I think now, music education will develop a lot in the way that education in general is developing. Whereas we're now before Before COVID, before the Florentine there was already a wave of people who were starting to homeschool instead of sending their kids off to school. But that wave was forced to intensify during during the quarantine. And now the quarantines are over there, a lot of people have found, huh, I prefer this, I'm keeping my kids at home. So I think the same thing is going to be happening with music education, where people are going to be reaching out for more resources that they can use from home, to help them teach their kids, whether it's, you know, whether it's videos, or whether it's, you know, the software's that will listen to you play and then correct you, you know, tell you when you made a mistake, or whether it's teachers who will teach you by video, I think more people are going to start doing learning music from home through the screen. I think that's definitely a big part of the future of music, education. And then of course, apps. We all know about the apps that like I said, we'll listen to what you're playing, and then correct you tell you when you're wrong and things like that. And YouTube was already a big thing people see a lot, so many people have taught themselves guitar from YouTube. You know what I mean? I think there are limitations. Obviously, you do need someone who's sensitive to you, who can who can direct you in the moment, someone who's already part of a music tradition, who can help you understand how to express yourself as part of that tradition, you know, you need that. But I think there's a lot that people are able are able to do now, thanks to tech that they weren't able to do before. And I think that's always going to be a part of the future.

Alex Villacis:

Yeah, and I sounds like you're suggesting that there's going to be a mix that's gonna be like a software can teach you the, that's like the hard skills of music, like how to play the notes, but then a person can come and teach Okay, now we're gonna feel them. Because there is that distance I, I am learning right now Dutch through Duolingo. And there is a different like, Duolingo can teach me how to pronounce the word. But a person is going to teach me how to use it properly, or how to create poetry with them. I'm not grateful. I will never speak poetry, and there will never be Dutch poetry coming out of my mouth. No, in Paul, maybe I have. I keep saying Life is too short to learn Dutch. There is not enough.

Ekanem Ebinne:

I've heard Danish is worse. And Finnish, maybe even worse, and Hungarian is slower. But yeah, the

Alex Villacis:

the thing is what's particularly difficult. So my first language is Spanish. So I was born in South America. So my first thing was Spanish I started with with English when I was three, when they sent me to an American school. Then when I was eight, I went to a German school. So I learned German. And it's so different. Like, as a musician, you know, that we have we make different sounds like we place sound when you speak Spanish, for example, the sound comes in the front of the mouth. So everything moves in the front of the mouth, in that everything is in the throat. So I am struggling so much with that it's, I have a friend who he does logo pendeks. So teaching people how to move their mouth and how to speak properly. I think that's what it's called. And he's like, yeah, don't be so hard on yourself. Because this is basically retraining your the muscles on your jaw and your mouth and everything. And how do you do it? Because you probably have to do that too, with people through a screen and so on. Have you found that it that's something that a teacher like you can teach, like a computer will have a really hard time telling them how to do that, right? Yeah,

Ekanem Ebinne:

yeah. And that's something I always say a machine can't teach a human How to Be a human, you know, we have to be able to get those clues from how the other person's using their body, especially young children need to get those clues from the way the other person is using their body especially how they're breathing, you know. So that's definitely your right, that's definitely a big, weird thing that we can never we can't ever dispense with a human teacher. You're so right.

Alex Villacis:

It's like oh, the humanities. And I love what you said about how people are realising that they don't need to send the kids to school like homeschooling, it can be perfectly fine. And allow them to explore sorting skills, and yeah, me teachers like you maybe on the other side of the world, like hey, I want my kid to learn music from this teacher. I want my kid to learn math from that teacher. I want them to mix. Yeah, that put together the puzzle, but there is no box since like, put together the puzzle that fits you best. I love that. This has been a great I'm so inspired right now. You're so inspiring.

Ekanem Ebinne:

Ah, thank you I'm inspired to it's exciting to get to think about these things. And like you said, think about the future. I love that.

Alex Villacis:

Where we go anywhere,

Ekanem Ebinne:

when you work with kids, you are working with the future, just like the Whitney Houston said, Remember her for her classic song. Yeah. So

Alex Villacis:

Oh, Whitney about that. Yeah, yeah. So we have come to the end of the pod. Is there anything you would like to promote from your own words, maybe books or movies or something that you would recommend to people who are thinking about maybe pivoting into this path or thinking about going like following your lead? What would you recommend them to touch? Read, learn, assert, like, what would you recommend?

Ekanem Ebinne:

Well, I think you should definitely look for anything that you can find about Gordon music learning theory, there are now so many cool, now more than ever, teachers who are exposing how they apply music learning theories to their teaching, there's one YouTube channel called the improving musician, I think there are now a couple of different podcasts of people who are applying Music Learning Theory. And then there's also the, the there's also gamma, which is the Gordon Institute for Music Learning people can look on there. I encourage people to always think this thing as much as you can, you know, the idea that music is something that comes from machine is not not exactly right, like we were just saying. So make music with your body as much as you can, you know, feel what it feel what it feels like to actually sing as much as you can, if we're talking about, you know, parents who want to start helping their children with music. And, and I would also say I have a sing along, it's called Sunday sing along, you can find a link to them on my link tree. It's link tree slash the singing home. And it's a free, weekly opportunity for you to begin to see how you can sing and move in ways that are really engaging to children and help them start engaging their musical body and musical mind. And when you're on that link, too, you can find other ways to link up with me as well. I have events on clubhouse all the time where we do songwriting, together with kids, I have things on clubhouse, where we can learn a little bit about listening, listening to cancel some of the things I was telling you about before and there's always new stuff coming on. Perfect. I

Alex Villacis:

will add all of that to the show notes. And I will see if I can find Dr. Gordon's books and add them to the show notes as well. So people have easy access to them. So thank you so much Academy, it has been a really amazing, like, amazing evening afternoon. Like I everything got really dark because the sun came down and my boyfriend came in and he turned on the light for me. So that was great. Well, thank you. Yes, thank you so much for this.

Ekanem Ebinne:

Yeah, thank you. It was really fun. I didn't know it was gonna turn out. So fun. I really enjoyed it. And thank you for the opportunity for the opportunity.

Alex Villacis:

I have to say, I love when people come to the show, and they're nervous or worried about what they're going to say. And then like 10 minutes, and we're just chatting and having a good time. Because to me, that's what this podcast is about. It's about exchanging ideas, exchanging experiences, and just learning that we all have our different paths. I personally loved in McAdams story how she thought she had to follow a certain guide and how she could pivot her journey and end up in a much better place than she thought she was gonna go in the beginning and also how she could design her own education, which is one of the great things that we can do today, we have access to all these resources so we can look for what we what we want to learn. And if formal education is your path, that's great. If it's not, that's also great, and just become great, amazing professionals like economists. I hope you're curious about her now and that you want to learn more about her work, you'll find all the links in the show notes. So go and check it out. And as we come to the end of the show, I want to thank you for joining me on another episode and give me your time. I hope you're enjoying this conversations and please subscribe to the show and give us a review or give us any feedback you can reach out to us on social media as well. All the links are in the show notes. To let us know if you have questions you would like to ask creatives. What would you like to learn? If you have somebody to recommend please let us know I am here to make something great for you. That's it. Again, thank you and hope to be again in your ears next week. Keep learning and stay curious. Bye