PenDragon - the official magazine of Lyford Cay International School PenDragon Vol 4, Spring 2018 - Page 14

IB Graduates Versus the Workplace of the Future

By Cathy LeGrand , Librarian
Eastman Kodak was the world leader in sales in photography equipment and supplies – until digital cameras came along and packed Kodak ’ s business model up in mothballs . Those of us eager for the first self-driving cars to deliver us from the need to be behind the wheel are not thinking about how such technological advances will render the real-life job of “ driver ” obsolete .
On the other hand , what if the workplaces and households of the future do include the friendly robots and flying cars that we have been promised ? What will our daily lives and occupations look like if we are indeed freed from routine and mundane forms of labour ? The essential knowledge and skills sets of today can quickly become outdated . What competencies will stand the test of time ?
Schools grapple with how to provide education for this unknowable future . How will the school children of today navigate the uncharted waters of tomorrow ? What skills and knowledge will be valuable in a future in which nothing is certain but the persistence of change and disruption ?
One obvious answer is the skills and knowledge that cannot be done more accurately by a computer or more efficiently by an automated system . People will always be called on to do those things that people inherently do better than machines , “ soft ” skills based on interpersonal interaction and human ingenuity .
The key competencies of the future are already among the deliverables of an International Baccalaureate ( IB ) education .
I will always remember how LCIS gave us exposure to the diverse nationalities of the students and teachers . This exposure , together with the rigorous academic requirements of the IB program , has enabled me to succeed in my career in the Far East , thousands of miles away from home . The IB programme was the first time I was really pushed out of my comfort zone , which prepared me for the real-life challenges that I face on a daily basis .
Eduardo Vazquez ( LCIS Class of 2006 ) Investment Management & Business Development Shangri-La Asia Ltd .
All historical images are in the public domain
The Science of Artistic Expression Musical Performance Meets Human Neuromechanics By Dion Cunningham, LCIS Music Teacher Grades 7-10 Mr. Cunningham is currently completing his Doctor of Musical Arts degree at the University of Maryland. Mr. Cunningham also has a Master of Music degree in Piano from the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins and is one of the top pianists in The Bahamas. He has taught music in the secondary school at LCIS since 2017. Mr. Cunningham’s doctoral work demonstrates the LCIS values of lifelong learning and STEAM thinking through his multidisciplinary exploration of artistic production and its intersection with the physical sciences. At age 16, Leon Fleisher was the “pianistic find of the century” and enjoyed a 20- year career at the pinnacle of success as a world-class pianist. Fleisher was one of the most gifted pianists of his generation. Yet by age 36, he could barely write his name let alone play the piano. He had developed “focal dystonia,” a neurological condition that causes muscles to contract involuntarily. In Fleisher’s case, the fourth and fifth fingers of his right hand curled under and he lost the use of that hand. This put an immediate halt to his career as a concert pianist. Today, with treatment, Fleisher is able to make occasional returns to the stage as a performer, and he enjoys success as a conductor and a professor of music. He continues to fight to regain complete mastery of his right hand. and proprioceptive intelligence that performers need to reach those artistic peaks. Unless a performing artist of Leon Fleisher’s stature brings to light the sobering realities of injuries related to performance, we give little thought to the consequences of their dedication and application. Both kinds of stories–the inspirational and the tragic–demonstrate the need to study the intersection of neuroscience, medical science, music pedagogy and instrument ergonomics. Stories such as these inspired the topic of my dissertation, leading me to examine the role of music instruction in the physical aspects of performance. I focus specifically on the piano, my own instrument, investigating the optimal functioning of the human body in relation to the instrument. One of the things I examine in my dissertation is the efficiency of “ideal alignment”, the growing understanding that performers can produce more effective and efficient performance outcomes through optimal alignment of their body parts. restrictions on how the musician can manipulate the instrument in order to avoid technical inefficiencies or long-term injuries to their body. The effect of this latter interaction ultimately determines the length of a musician’s career. My study calls for extensive research into how piano has been taught over the centuries, to see to what extent traditional piano training methods maximize efficiency or encourage overuse and the potential for injury. I go back as far as the 1700s to see how piano technique was developed and taught. I also look at neuromechanical and physiological science research to examine whether scientific findings in these disciplines have been incorporated into the teaching and practice of instrumental performance. I reason that studies on the optimal functioning of the arm, hands and fingers have valuable applications in the field of piano pedagogy. The human-subject tests I conducted regarding the intersection of physiology and piano performance will provide evidence for my conclusions about new pedagogical approaches to piano performance. The performance of music is an often invisible interplay between human physiology, in the form of the musician’s body, and industrial design, in the form of a human-crafted instrument. The nature of the human body affects how a musician uses his or her instrument, while the structure of the instrument slowly recreates the human body engaged with it. The human body and the instrument act upon each other. In the domain of piano performance, the position of the musician’s fingers and the orientation of the musician’s wrists play a key role in how effectively the musician can navigate a demanding piece of music to produce a performance that is both technically accurate and musically appealing. My work will help lead one of the first conversations among pianists, piano teachers, scientists and medical professionals. The goal of these conversations is to stem the tide of injuries to performers and to provide longer and healthier careers in music for all. Ultimately, we hope to have less of Leon Fleisher the injured performer and more of Leon Fleisher the constant musician. On the other hand, the rectangular shape of the piano and its immovable structure impose Many performers are reluctant to rupture the perception of ease and perfection that their performance creates. There is also stigma attached to developing a performance-related injury, and concern regarding how developing an injury reflects on the performer’s teachers. As a result, many performers continue their suffering in silence, often until they can suffer no more. The story of Fleisher’s continuing musical career despite his affliction is inspiring–he found ways to triumph over adversity and to keep doing what he loves. His story is also instructive, particularly in light of how unusual it is. He is one of the exceptions in the the highly competitive and stressful field of piano performance. More common are the untold stories of thousands of aspiring pianists who gave up on the idea of any kind of career in music, as performer or otherwise, after sustaining an injury. As audience members, we are captivated by the technical and \\XX]وHœ\ܛH]HY\][ۈHۘ\YKY]H\H\[H[]\HوHZ[[ŒMM