The Marshmallows Called Fernandes

I don’t particularly like the marshmallow test. It’s not because I fail the test. I can delay gratification when necessary. What I don’t like about it is that the closer you are to success, the more excruciatingly painful the waiting gets. It’s probably a little difficult to see the ‘excruciating’ aspect of the pain of waiting if you think about a marshmallow and the twenty-minute wait. However, the real world hardly deals in marshmallows, and it is rarely a matter of just twenty minutes. Add my ADHD to that mix and it can really become frustrating.

My marshmallows at the moment are electric guitars. The missus and I plan our family’s expenses, both regular ones and big, long-term ones. We don’t just plan for what we need and living expenses, we also plan for what we want. Electric guitars and recording equipment are part of that plan. My long term plan is to own seven electric guitars and one bass guitar. Here is my wishlist.

The Jaguar. My favorite Fender guitar.

The Telecaster. My favorite Fender guitar before I saw the Jaguar.

The Stratocaster. Probably the most-cloned guitar.

The Jazz Bass. The only bass guitar I want.

The SG. My favorite Gibson guitar.

The Flying V. Screaming with attitude.

The Les Paul. The first electric guitar I used to play my own songs. The one I used was a copy, of course.

The semi-hollow archtop. Classy. Full stop.

The guitars above are arranged according to manufacturer, with the first four being Fender models and the next four Gibson models. The Jaguar and the SG are my two favorites among the seven electric guitars. But I’m not picky when it comes to brands. I never wished for my guitars to be Fenders and Gibsons. I don’t even require them to be Squiers and Epiphones. I’m good with good copies.

Of those eight, I only own one at the moment. It’s my first electric guitar, a black Telecaster copy that I bought six years ago. I need to bring it to a luthier to get it reconditioned. I’ll probably have it repainted white with black binding. The repairs and repainting will probably cost like I bought the guitar all over again, but it will be worth it. I love the sound of that guitar.

Now that you have a good idea of what my marshmallows look like, let’s look at the actual test that I’m undergoing right now.

I’m scheduled to buy a guitar in December. I’ve had my eye on an SX SG copy that I saw in JB Music last year. Waiting for December wasn’t so hard because it was a current model and JB would periodically restock the item.

SG copy is good enough for me.

Then I was sent to Kuala Lumpur for a workshop. When the workshop was done, I asked the front desk of the hotel if there were any guitars available. They gave me directions to a music store that was a couple of blocks from the hotel. That was where I saw a Squier Jagmaster that was all black. When I got back from the workshop, I did some research and found out that the Jagmaster was locally available at Yupangco Music. It was even a bit cheaper than the price tag I saw in Malaysia. Again, the waiting was bearable because it was a current model and the store would have it in stock.

Jaguar+Jazz Master=Jagmaster. They could have been a tad bit more creative.

Enter boredom. I was idly surfing the net one evening and had the idea of searching for guitars at After a few pages, I came across a Fernandes ‘The Function’ Stratocaster copy for sale. That’s when the marshmallow test began.

Blue, black, and gold for the win!

It's more than just The Function. It's als the form.

I had the money to buy it, but it wasn’t December. We also seriously did not have space for another guitar at home. It was difficult not to think about it because I knew the guitar could disappear any time. But things became a bit easier when we had to use the money for Gray’s birthday bash last weekend. But I still think about The Function every now and then. I haven’t looked at again. I don’t really want to know if it’s still there or if it has been sold. I try not to think about it.

A couple of days ago, I was on the train ride home. As the train approached the station, I spotted a streamer in one of the low-rise buildings that had a drawing of a Gorilla with a Les Paul. Curious, I read the words beside the drawing.




I instantly knew what it meant. I wasn’t in any hurry, so I went to the store to check it out. The first floor wasn’t impressive. They had a handful of amps (Marshall, Roland, and Yamaha), an Ibanez GRX, a couple of no-name Strat copies, a drum kit, a trumpet, and a few keyboards that I didn’t even bother inspecting.

But then I saw the stairs. The stairs that led to the mezzanine. The mezzanine that held the walls and walls of guitars. It was awesome. Not even the new JB branch had that many guitars on display. There must have been a hundred or more. I didn’t know most of the brands, but they looked like good enough copies. They’ll probably need some careful testing, of course.

I also saw a few Fenders (which were above my price range), a few more Ibanez, a handful of Grecos, and several Fernandes. And then I saw a guitar that spoke to me, a Fernandes Jaguar copy.

The Fernandes JG. It speaks to me.

It was a little pricey, but it almost looked new. Initially, I thought the JG would replace The Function as my marshmallow. But no. Now it’s two marshmallows. And this test is just twisted. Instead of seeing one marshmallow, I see two. Instead of twenty minutes, it’s two months. And instead of being assured more if I wait, the chances of getting the marshmallows grow slimmer as I wait. It’s insane!!!

But all I can do is wait.

It really isn’t that bad, actually. It’s mostly me being an impatient brat about it.

But I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Please do too.


Twenty Years With the Lights Out

Our little group has always been and always will be till the end.

Today marks the 20th birthday of Nirvana’s seminal album, Nevermind. This album is a landmark in my appreciation of music. Of course, my real introduction to rock music happened by way of glam metal. Guns ‘n’ Roses’ Appetite for Destruction, to be exact. However, 1991 brought a slew of great albums, as this freshly-pressed blog here reminded me. The Use Your Illusion double album was amazing! It even had its share of Satanic back-masked message urban legends. And the Black Album is still my favorite Metallica album. But Nirvana’s Nevermind was the gateway that led me to discover so many great acts from that year until the turn of the millennium, just before the rich diversity of rock music was killed by the proliferation of rap metal and pop-punk. No offense to those rock sub-genres and their legion of fans, but yes, those killed it for me. But that’s a rant for another day.

Life changer.

And so… Today, after three weeks of not featuring any music, let’s revisit Nirvana’s Nevermind. The whole album is so great, I’ll give you the first half! Enjoy!

1. Smells Like Teen Spirit”

2. In Bloom”

3. Come as You Are”

4. Breed”

5. Lithium”

6. Polly”

If you’re wondering what that baby on the album cover looks like, now that he’s 20, check this out.

Sifting Through Ash

I planned this thing to be weekly, but I guess that was easy to do during the summer. Now that I’m working again, it will have to be a weekly-thing-if-I-can.

Today, I’m thinking Ash.

Genuine real teenagers.

Ash is a rock band from Ireland that was formed in 1992. They were just in their teens when they recorded their early material. Their first commercial release was 1994’s Trailer, a mini album with 7 tracks. But their follow-up album 1977, released in 1996, would be the one to achieve more considerable success.  They’ve released 6 studio albums, but shifted to releasing material in single format in 2007. A greatest hits album is in the works with a scheduled October 2011 release date.

1. Girl from Mars

This is probably the first Ash song I heard. It’s from the 1996 album, 1977. There is also a UK version of the video, but there are audio dropouts near the end, plus it was just weird.”

2. A Life Less Ordinary

This is a track in the soundtrack of the 1997 Danny Boyle film of the same name.”

3. Shining Light

This one is the first single from the 2001 release, Free All Angels. I didn’t really pay much attention to this when I first heard it, but it’s one of my favorites now.”

The Factors of My Age

It’s the last ninety minutes of thirty-three.

Thirty-three is three times eleven.

I don’t remember much about what it was like when I was three. But I have pictures of me wearing an army helmet and these round yellow (I think) swimming goggles. I carried a wooden pole that was about as tall as me, probably my rifle. And I rode this thing that I can only describe as an ATV-type of trike. It was blue and yellow (again, I think), and it had bike-type handlebars but it had four wheels. Now that I think about it, I think that toy was way ahead of it’s time. I have vague memories of being in an accident on that ATV-trike. I think I lost control as I rode it down the sloping walkway of my father’s ancestral house. I remember crashing at the gate. There is also this vague memory of me sitting on that ATV-trike bawling as I watched my mother walk out the gate. I don’t remember if I was crying because I didn’t want her to leave or because I wanted to go with her. But I remember the crying being intense.

I have other pictures of me when I was three. There are several of me and my cousin, who is my age, hanging out in the town plaza. We wore denim overalls. My hair was still pretty much a light shade of brown then. Back then, we also had this vinyl record of Battlestar Galactica. When ever my aunt would play it, my cousin and I would always pretend to be Apollo and Starbuck. I was always Starbuck. I don’t know if it was to match the hair color of the characters or something, but I was always Starbuck. We also had these cassette tapes different children’s songs. But my favorite cassette tape then was the one with opening and ending themes of Japanese animated series, most notably the big mecha series like Voltes V and Mazinger Z. I guess, you could say that was the first sign that I would grow up to be an anime freak…

When I turned eleven, I was attending fifth grade in a public school in Pampanga. Our school competed in inter-school competitions pretty frequently. Nerdy stuff like Math, Science, and Spelling. I remember representing our school for Math competitions several times. But I never got to compete in the regional level because I always just got second place in the division level. Public schooling ain’t what it used to be, I guess. Back then one took pride in attending a public school, and private schools had the reputation of catering to rich-not-so-bright kids, who could only do well with the help of a tutor.

During those days, I watched a lot of afternoon TV. Those time slots were reserved for cartoon series. I watched M.A.S.K., Thundercats, Silver Hawks, and Comic Strip every afternoon. I no longer remember what was on on which day. My favorite toy at that time were G.I. Joes. I still played with my Legos, but only when I was in my father’s ancestral house, which was located in another town. On some Saturdays, I would go to a classmate’s house to play on his Nintendo Famicom. He was one of the two kids in our class who owned the consoles. We played a lot of Spartan X and Super Mario Bros. I can’t remember if he had any other games. But during that time, the 8-bit graphics blew us away! They were amazing compared to the graphics of Atari games (which he also had, which we went to his house to play before he got the Famicom). But most of my free time was spent outdoors, playing basketball, hide and seek, different versions of tag, climbing trees, climbing fences, and jumping down from what ever I climbed.

When I turned twenty-two, I was teaching part time in a private school in Quezon City that catered specifically to children with dyslexia and other learning needs. I was the Art and Music teacher from the first grade all the way to the sixth. It was my first job. I was still finishing college then. I worked so I could pay for my tuition and living expenses. It was while teaching there that I realized that I, in all probability, have ADHD. That was where I met the missus too. My first taste of Starbucks coffee was her treat because I helped her finish preparing materials for her class. I was appalled that someone would charge close to one hundred pesos for coffee! I never became a fan of Starbucks. It’s just wrong.

I wasn’t used to being a teacher then. I was also a little different from what I am like now. I hated being hugged. One of the teachers there would sometimes hug me out of the blue just to see my discomfort. And on my 22nd birthday, she told the first graders to greet me happy birthday and give me a group hug. It was the longest 1 minute of my life. I also remember getting birthday presents! The missus got me some hair care products. That was the first time I grew my hair long. And CS gave me a Parker ball pen with my name engraved on it. If I’m not mistaken, I still have that pen somewhere in my disorganized clutter of things from the past, along with the cards that came with them.

Back then, I lived with my friends. We were renting a room in Loyola Heights in Quezon City. The staple food was fast food. It was a rotating menu of McDonald’s, KFC, and Tapa King. Rock radio was a staple then too. The rock scene was very much alive then, and rock music was very diverse. We listened to a lot of stuff, but I was already a shameless fan of the Smashing Pumpkins, Foo Fighters,  the Lemonheads, the Ersaerheads, and Rivermaya then. I had also started dabbling in song-writing during that time. But trying to form a band would not happen until the following year.

Recreation during those days was a mix of run-of-the-mill college-type activities and nerdy activities. I played pool, got drunk, gambled, and many times, all three on the same night. As for the nerdy activities, there was Starcraft and Counterstrike. My friends and I probably played a minimum of six hours a week. It was a lot of fun because our group was big, sometimes we would gather enough people to have teams of eight. Back then, the Missus couldn’t understand why we would play a game for two to three hours, andthen spend another hour just talking about what happened in those two to three hours. But that was before she met Diablo II and the Sims.

Then there was also the Sony Playstation. Tekken 3 was THE game. Everybody had their favorites. We would all hang out in my friend’s condo unit and play for hours on end. I mostly played Paul (of course!), Lei, and Julia. But I wasn’t the best. The guy to beat in our group used Yoshimitsu and Brian. To this day, (to quote Etlevs) I still call hacks. We also played RPGs. The most memorable ones were Final Fantasy VII and the Playstation port of Diablo because my friends and I did marathons playing those games. We did it in shifts, some people playing while the others slept. And again, many a time, the nerdy activities and the colleg-type activities would all happen on the same night.

Writing about this now, I wonder how I got to hold a job and finish college amidst all that recreation… Now kids, don’t try those things at home. Those awe-inspiring feats were done by trained professionals.

Last time I checked I was three times eleven. Thrity-three. Now, I’m thrity-four, for all of thirty minutes. I wonder what thirty-four will be like. I’ll start finding out when I wake up later. But right now, all I can tell you is that it’s two times seventeen.

Product of the Long Weekend

Last week, my goal was to finish recording two more songs. However, the weekend was not as free as I thought it would be. I was able to do some tracking on Friday night. On Saturday, I went around some music stores with some friends and got to do vocals and some mixing. Sunday was just death. It was a long day of shopping, chores, and doing groceries. I spent Monday morning teaching some differential calculus. I had a looong nap after lunch and only started getting to work after 8pm.

I didn’t get to finish two songs, but I did get to do some mixing tweaks on the first five I recorded. I was also able to finish this one.

Here’s to all the people who loved true but were left behind.

Dancing Solo

There’s a softness in the way the light falls on her

There’s a certain grace in the way they glide

Afloat in the sound of never asking why

Isn’t this the first time

And they turn, and they turn

And they turn around, dancing well together

And they turn, and they turn

And they turn around, dancing well together

There is magic in the air she breathes that makes her feel alive

As they move in perfect circles

Afloat in the sound, how was she supposed to know that

She’d be dancing this song for the last time

And they turn, and they turn

And they turn around, dancing well together

But as they turn, he turns away and walks away

There’s a silence that she hears that surrounds her now

She no longer feels the song and everything’s gone so still

But there is a freedom that she finds

There is a freedom when she finds out that she can still glide

And she turns, she turns around, she turns around

And she turns, and she turns

She turns around, still dancing so well

Still dancing so well

She’s still dancing

The 8 Music Stores of My Backyard and the Just as Many Meet-Up Mishaps

I love Araneta Center in Cubao. It has everything I need. Malls, check. Supermarkets, check. Wet market, check. Electric-powered shuttle to take you from one mall to the other, check. But what I like most about it is that just three weeks ago, the 8th music store in the area opened. Yes, there are eight. They do come in varying degrees of awesomeness, but each has something good to offer.

In Ali Mall, there’s an Audiophile branch. They carry Ibanez, Vox, Hartke, Peavey, Korg, and Tama. Next to it is In-Tune. They mainly carry Behringer, but recently they started selling Epiphones from China. It’s just too bad that Epiphone China only makes a few models. The G400 not being one of them. Boo. Then there’s Music Source. Their main brand is Stagg, but they also have Aria stuff. Lazer Music mainly has Samick gear that’s from Korea, but that’s where I go for my strings.

The old Rustan’s Building across from Ali Mall houses three stores. What I like in Lyric Music are their Dan Electro pedals and their Tokai guitars from Japan. They also have some Washburn pieces. Salonga Music is probably the oldest music store in the area. They carry a lot of brands, but the ones of note are Laney, Orange, PRS, Zoom, Martin & Co., Pearl, Ludwig, Hamer (Indonesian), and SX (China). That’s also where I bought my M-Audio interface. Then there’s One World Music and Sports. Their main brand is Ashton, an Australian brand. But they have a few Fenders from Korea.

And lastly, there’s the new JB Music branch on the side of Shopwise facing SM. It carries pretty much the same line as Salonga, being sister companies.

Last week, I told Etlevs about the new branch of JB Music, and that my friend and I paid it a visit. I related to him the awesome gear that we saw, like Martin & Co. acoustic guitars (the kind that John Mayer uses) and a Marshall JCM800 head amp (the kind that Slash uses). Etlevs said he should go see the store. Probably Saturday, he said. Since I lived two blocks from Araneta Center, I told him to tell me when he was going so I could meet him. He told Betts about it, and some kind of a plan came to be. Saturday at 11am, Ali Mall.

A day later, Betts told us that she had a dentist appointment and wouldn’t be able to make it at 11:00. So, I asked Etlevs if he was okay with pushing it back to after lunch. Having nothing else planned, he agreed. Another day goes by and Betts said she would be able to make it at 11:00. I gave Etlevs the update and he remembered that he had a class that would end at 11:00, meaning it would take him some time to get to Araneta Center.

Saturday morning came and I told Betts if she could delay her ETA to 11:30 to give Etlevs time to travel. She agreed and we were set. But just a wee bit before 11:30, I got a message from Etlevs. Due to a mix up in logistics, he didn’t have transportation. The earliest he would be able to make it was 2pm. Because Betts was already at Ali Mall, I went to meet her.

Apparently, she tagged along to work with her mum, and her mum, in turn, tagged along with her to the music store tour. But lunch was the first order of the day (no pun intended). We had pizza and pasta and lots of good conversation. Our first topic was how funny it was that the person whose idea this tour was couldn’t make it.

After lunch, Betts and I paid a visit to the four music stores in Ali Mall while her mum waited in the restaurant. Afterwards, we went through SM and crossed the street to the new JB Music branch. After about half an hour of looking around, we walked back to Ali Mall. Betts and her mum waited for their car and I walked back home. We didn’t go to the other 3 music stores because they would require more walking. Besides, Betts lived near an even bigger Lyric branch. We skipped Salonga Music because it’s practically the same as JB. And there was no need to go to One World Music because Betts already owns a US Fender Strat.

When I got home, I took a nap with Rune and Gray. Less than an hour later, I got a message from Etlevs saying he was almost at Ali Mall. So, I went out to meet him and did the tour again. This time though, we really went through the 8. We started with the 4 in Ali Mall, followed by the 3 that Betts didn’t go to, and saved JB Music for last. There, Etlevs bought a chain for his snare drum and a drum key. We parted ways at Ali Mall. He was finally able to meet up with his ride after some minutes of directional challenges.

It was a pretty good Saturday, despite the small mishaps. It was fun looking at music gear with fellow musicians. I still got to record vocal tracks when I got home. Free pizza and pasta is always a good thing. And it was funny that a staff member at JB thought that we (myself, Etlevs, and Betts) were siblings. Now, that’s one for teh lulz!

Some Negativity

I’ve had this headache since noon today, so I’m going to skip all the band/artist background info and just post the songs. I’m just grateful for the 4-day weekend coming up. This week just crept by soooooo slowly.

1. Everything Falls Apart by Dog’s Eyeview”

2. I’m a Slut by Howlin Maggie”

3. Sick of Myself by Matthew Sweet”

Don’t Reinvent It

I got the idea while on the walking leg of my commute to work one morning.

Cake and (Surprise, surprise) the Foo Fighters return (again) for this week’s three. The band to introduce is Athenaeum.

Athenaeum was a rock band that was formed in Carolina in the 1990. They released an independent self-titled album in 1995. Radiance, their major label debut album in 1998, yielded minor hits. But here in the Philippines, Flat Tire became pretty popular, getting a lot of airplay when it was released. The band was dropped by their major label after their self-titled second major label album in 2001. The following year, they released a collection of outtakes and demos called Hourglass. The band toured and played their final show in 2004.

1. Wheels by Cake

This is very characteristic Cake. Easy, groovy, and lyrics that paint interesting images in your head. It’s from their 2004 album Pressure Chief.”

2. Flat Tire by Athenaeum

This one just makes me remember the carefree days of college that shouldn’t have been carefree but really serious instead, but would take a year more for me to realize…”

3. Wheels by Foo Fighters

This one is one of the two tracks in the their 2009 ‘Best of’ collection that were previously unreleased. Classic Foo.”

Kent Svenka?

Rock icons of Scandinavia

Kent is a rock band from Sweden. The roots of the band go as far back as 1990. They’re one of the biggest bands in Sweden, with 9 studio albums, millions in sales, and 20 Swedish Grammy awards under their belts. But they pretty much just have a cult following in other parts of the world. In 1998, they released an English version of the album Isola in an attempt to break into the international mainstream. They followed it up in 2000 with an English version of Hagnesta Hill and supported it with a US tour. Even with these efforts, the band did not gather enough attention to draw in significant sales. As such, Kent has dropped all efforts of releasing further English albums, which to a lot of fans outside of Sweden, is a bummer.

I first heard Kent on the radio in the late ’90s; the English version of If You Were Here getting a fair amount of airplay. But it was their second radio single, 747 that made my friends and I notice the band. Part of its charm was the fact that the song’s title was its duration in minutes and seconds. I also personally love the layered guitars with distortion and delays. A couple of years later, my friend was able to find a copy of the English version of their album Isola, which contained If You Were Here and 747. I borrowed it and got to listen to the rest of the album. I later found the English version of their succeeding album, Hagnesta Hill on sale at a mall record bar for 125 pesos. From that album, what eventually became my favorite is Rollercoaster.

Music videos of If You Were Here and 747 were made. But 747 was shortened to 4:25 and it also included a chorus that isn’t in the album version. I prefer the album version because of the long outro.

1. If You Were Here”

2. 747

Official Video”

Album Version”

3. Rollercoaster”

Analog Experience

A few weeks ago, I took part in a workshop about conducting discussion-based classes. The basic structure of the workshop was that we would have simulations of discussion-based classes followed by a discussion of how the class discussion went and opportunities to ask questions and share insights or strategies.

On the second day, the group I was with simulated a Spanish language class. One of the things that was stressed by our facilitator was that the learning had to be experiential. It cannot be just rote exercises on vocabulary building and verb conjugations. The students have to experience the language if they are to learn it.

In the afternoon, our class discussion was about immigration and immigrants in the United States. In our discussion on the discussion, we were asked to reflect and share which moments in our discussion we thought were wonderful, wobbly, and woolly (it’s basically the good, the bad, and the ugly). One of the things that our facilitator pointed out was the substantial number of personal anecdotes that were shared during our discussion of immigration and immigrants in the United States. She also cautioned us in keeping these to a minimum as they have the tendency to make the discussion lose its focus and lead it to numerous elsewheres.

On the way home, MM expressed her disagreement on keeping personal anecdotes to a minimum in a discussion. She argued that it is  through these that students find relevance in learning. This got me thinking about what kind of role personal experience plays in our learning. Does it help us learn better, or does it keep us from learning? And since I am in the middle of recording my music, it sort of found its way on board my train of thought, and well… this happened:

The first methods of recording sound, dating as far back as the mid-1800s, were completely mechanical. A machine captured and stored sound directly. However, these methods did not provide very good quality recordings and were not very practical. In the early 1900s, advances in electronics allowed the development of and electromechanical method of sound recording. This method did not capture sound directly but it gave better results and more flexibility.

In this method, the sound energy emitted by the source is captured by the recording device. This recording apparatus then makes a representation of the sound using an electrical signal. Representing sound as an electrical signal allows us to transmit it securely without losing parts of it along the way. The information that this signal carries about the sound it represents can then be stored and/or converted back into a reproduction of that sound. This method of capturing sound is referred to as analog or analogue because the relationship between the electrical signal and the actual sound is analogous in nature.

In learning, it is pretty much common knowledge that experience is the most efficient way to learn about something. But what we sometimes take for granted is that there are things people want to learn about that they cannot experience. Maybe it’s too expensive. Maybe the technology is inaccessible or nonexistent. Maybe it will kill you. Or maybe it’s just outright impossible. But what ever the reason, some things just cannot be directly experienced.

When this hurdle in our learning appears, we go and do the next best thing. We create representations, simulations, models, dramatizations, diagrams, games; anything that will give us some sort of experience, no matter how indirect, to help us understand something better. Just like in sound recording, we can’t always directly ‘capture’ understanding. Sometimes, we have to rely on analog to do it.

Personal anecdotes that come up in class discussions are examples of such learning analogs. Considering them as tools to improve learning may sound counter-intuitive because they make us take an indirect route towards learning. However, anecdotes serve as anchors to real life for concepts that would otherwise be alien or abstract or both. Whether or not the anecdotes are something we went through ourselves or something someone we know went through, they can help us attain a better understanding of what we are learning. They can make our learning have more relevance. Just like analog recording, anecdotes afford us more flexibility and better quality.

Recording sound doesn’t mean recording just any sound and in just any way. We want to capture very specific sounds. We want to capture them as accurately as possible, and we want to capture them exclusively. The recording term for unwanted sounds is noise. And noise can very easily ruin a recording.

Analog recording technology makes use of electricity to capture and reproduce sound. However, the very systems and structures that allow audio devices to capture, store, and reproduce sound also cause the electricity flowing through them to generate sound. This sound is called electrical or mains hum, and is considered as a type of noise. This duality of electricity becomes quite problematic. We need it to capture sound, but it is also in its nature to compromise the quality of the sound that we are capturing.

Relating what we learn to our personal experiences exhibits a similar duality. Does it play an important role in learning? Yes, our experiences allow us to deepen our understanding and give relevance to our learning. But at the same time, it carries with it just as much potential to bar us from the very thing we are trying to achieve.

Even in today’s world of digital recording, noise cannot be completely removed without affecting the quality of the recorded sound. However, it is not a case of ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t.’ To put it more precisely, it is a case of ‘damned if you don’t, damned if you do too much.’ Getting the best sound quality is not about eliminating noise, it’s about managing it. This is one of the things audio engineers do. They design recording environments to minimize the presence of noise. They set up equipment in certain ways to minimize the noise they generate. And they use some tools that further reduce the effects of noise.

At the end of the day, we teachers are essentially engineers. We need to design effective learning environments. We need to set up equipment properly to increase their efficiency. We need to use the appropriate tools in appropriate ways at appropriate times. All this to harness and maximize the productivity of the different ways our students learn, and to minimize their inherent capacities to hinder learning.

Analog as analog to experiences as analog to concepts. It sounds unnecessarily complicated, but sometimes the disparate allow us to make connections. Sometimes we need to stray a little to get to where we want to go. And sometimes blurring boundaries provides us with clarity.