Sunday, August 9, 2015
Scaffolding and Development, by Kolby Koczanowski
Scaffolding is a technique that many music therapists utilize when addressing the goals and objectives of a client or group of clients. Educators may also utilize this technique when first introducing students to a new subject or concept. However, scaffolding is not often enough applied to the development of our own lives - personally and professionally. In our modern society we are constantly rushing to get things done, often forcing as much as we can into small intervals of time. Being a student in a music therapy program, or any music program for that matter, requires the devotion to practice, preparation, and research. In general, collegiate academic sequences can be very stressful and are often accompanied with a competitive feeling that one should do as much as they can, as fast as they can.
Examples of scaffolding can exist in many different forms. On this trip specifically, scaffolding became evidently important while climbing the Tiger Temple staircase in Krabi. This particular climb consists of somewhere around 1,260 steps of all varying forms. Some steps are short and easy to walk on up, while others are so steep that they require one to literally use their hands as if to climb up a ladder. Needless to say, the climb was at times grueling, painful, and tiring. However, making it to the top allowed for transfers to be made regarding our own difficult professional sequences.
The top of the temple exposed a lush and beautiful landscape stretching vast distances that imitated the awe of a Monet painting. The view, a reward in itself, is much like the progress or goals achieved when working with a client. Though there are moments that seem to breeze on by for both parties, progress requires courage, patience, and the flexibility to accept change and unpredictable indirection as a part of life. It can be struggling to even see the finish line, while feeling that it would be easier to just turn around and give up. (Read more about the Tiger Temple)
If we consider our own development for a moment, it becomes clear that these steps represent the challenges we face everyday that, in order to succeed, must be conquered. Some are easy, while others are difficult requiring more physical and mental effort. Along the way up to the Tiger Temple, there are several resting points that allow one to catch their breath, rest, and reset for the next set of stairs. It is quite simple to make a transfer of these resting points as developmental milestones that allow one to see a view of more detail and beauty than what came before, all while recognizing how far they have come.
These goals are achieved not only through the hard work and effort, but through the recognition of our human potential. We must learn to trust the process of our own development while also accepting that we are constantly learning and striving to reach our fullest potential. This belief is shared in the philosophy of Buddhism which acknowledges the importance of humans' potentiality for training capability to reach and develop the highest potential for themselves. Buddhism also supports the notion that we must develop ourselves constantly, have respect for ourselves (without arrogance), and along with humility, have the confidence in ourselves that we have potential for self-development. Humans are trainable beings, while life is education; life is the trainer and we are the trainees.
From a music therapy perspective we can consider the methods and approaches used within the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Premature infants are born without the needs to function and survive independently. In order to reach developmental milestones, infants depend on their caregiver (s) and external stimuli to provide the essentials for all developmental domains. However, if stimuli is introduced in ways that are over stimulating the infant can develop patterns of stress and become at-risk to potential for harm. Multimodal Stimulation is a method that promotes the developmental sequence of infants through the use of musical stimuli. This method is particular in that it introduces, or scaffolds, musical elements one by one while being completely reflexive to the physiological and stress responses of the infant. The sequence will often introduce humming first, followed by guitar, increase in dynamics, and so on. This technique has shown to benefit infants with low-birth weight and decrease hospital stay. (Read more about the NICU here)
What I'm getting at here is that we can not force ourselves to develop at faster rates than what we are capable of. We can easily confuse our knowledge and wealth of information with understanding. It took me 24 years to understand the importance of taking breaks to process and self-regulate. I believe it is essential to recognize how fast paced our lives can be, which can often be the source of stress much like the infant who becomes over stimulated or the student who rushes to the top of the mountain. Recognition that beauty awaits us at top is the first step - then we must learn to understand that scaffolding is necessary to optimize our fullest human potential.