“The first time I heard the voice of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was in Harlem, 1990. My roommate and I stood there blasting it in his room. We were all awash in the thick undulating tide of dark punjabi tabla rhythms, spiked with synchronized handclaps booming…
I took part in Connect India’s Learning Journey trip to Gujarat, India, in 2007. Whilst on this journey, we were introduced to a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) known as KMVS, which focused on women’s empowerment. Here I was told a true story of a woman from an “untouchable caste”. The story really made a lasting impression in my thoughts.
There is great pressure for women from the “untouchable caste” in India to give birth to boys and this particular mother gave birth to 5 daughters consecutively. The baby girls were killed by the in-laws as soon as they were born by a method known as “doodh pitthi”, where the baby is dipped in boiling hot milk. The mother had been getting abuse from her husband and his family and was unable to return back to her own village.
One day it got too much for her and she walked to a dry well and flung herself in…However, she was still alive. Her husband dragged her out, with many broken bones, and dumped her at the doorstep of her father in her home village, a shameful rejection and a reminder of her failure as a wife. KMVS has been working with similar cases and communities to improve mentality and education so that women can be treated better.
This story really stuck with me and I tried to imagine what made her want to end her life. I imagined the feeling of maternal satisfaction that she would gain by being re-united with her lost daughters and I imagined her doing her motherly duties with her babies. The music “Escape” is an interpretation of this hopeful feeling of being re-united as well as the sadness of leaving the world behind.
The track features the voice of Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of independent India in 1947 in which he announces the freedom of India from the British rule. The nation is free yet so many women and poor villagers are very far from free.
So whilst studying Brain and Behaviour module I found the concept of the somatosensory pathways crossing over quite interesting. When a stimulus is felt and crosses over to the other side of the brain for processing and perception. I liked the idea of how something simple and pure can get become something crazy in our perception and what if this stimulus gets distorted on the way to the brain? I decided to put this idea into music:
This photograph is copyright of Steve McCurry. No Copyright infringement intended. www.stevemccurry.com
During a study session in Birmingham Library this summer, my brother and I decided to visit the Steve McCurry Photo exhibition at the nearby Birmingham Art Gallery.I have known about Steve McCurry’s famous images such as the Afghan Girl, which was featured on the cover of National Geographic, and I was expecting to be blown away by the power in his photographic vision.
As my eyes bounced from intricately weaved landscapes to portraits so raw I could feel the skin, I became affixed to this particular shot of a young boy.The emotion poured out of the frame in a frenzy of confusion, panic and misunderstanding.
I remembered a time when I would try to forget “depressing” images like this and disconnect myself from the reality of life for people living on the other side of the world.I remembered a time when I was filled with gratitude for having the freedom to choose my career path, which TV program I will choose to watch and which breakfast cereal I will choose to eat.
However, it was impossible for me to forget the face of that young boy, from the snot running down his face to the worn away Spiderman top.War is the pre-determined fate of many children.Many are forced into battle and many are forced into a coffin.For this boy, it seems like he has already seen enough pain and can see only one way out.
The music I have composed, titled “Toy Soldiers”, is an interpretation of the impact this photo had on me.
Here, then, are the six keys to achieving excellence we’ve found are most effective for our clients:
Pursue what you love. Passion is an incredible motivator. It fuels focus, resilience, and perseverance.
Do the hardest work first. We all move instinctively toward pleasure and away from pain. Most great performers, Ericsson and others have found, delay gratification and take on the difficult work of practice in the mornings, before they do anything else. That’s when most of us have the most energy and the fewest distractions.
Practice intensely, without interruption for short periods of no longer than 90 minutes and then take a break. Ninety minutes appears to be the maximum amount of time that we can bring the highest level of focus to any given activity. The evidence is equally strong that great performers practice no more than 4 ½ hours a day.
Seek expert feedback, in intermittent doses. The simpler and more precise the feedback, the more equipped you are to make adjustments. Too much feedback, too continuously, however, can create cognitive overload, increase anxiety, and interfere with learning.
Take regular renewal breaks. Relaxing after intense effort not only provides an opportunity to rejuvenate, but also to metabolize and embed learning. It’s also during rest that the right hemisphere becomes more dominant, which can lead to creative breakthroughs.
Ritualize practice. Will and discipline are wildly overrated. As the researcher Roy Baumeister has found, none of us have very much of it. The best way to insure you’ll take on difficult tasks is to ritualize them — build specific, inviolable times at which you do them, so that over time you do them without having to squander energy thinking about them.