When I was a kid in school, I was a silent rebel. Every subject we had, I asked my self what is the point of this? Will this be useful for me in the future. Quite arrogant coming from a kid, I know… I mentioned before, that I struggled a lot due to being dyslexic and it gone unnoticed. I didn’t know I was struggling, I thought there were just kids that were better at certain things… Of course everybody thought I was just being lazy, and if I asked the question, what is the point of this, I was given generic answer how I would need it in my life later. That wasn’t good enough for me, I needed specifics. And lets just say none of the teacher took it kindly to a student questioning their authority…
I’m not saying I was right. I was just curious, and eager to spend my time bit more productively in my eyes. But looking back now, the world we live in has changed. Information is not something we need to store huge amounts in our head. We have computers, smart phones, internet. What was valued back then, might not be worth as much anymore. Do I have any regrets? Should I have listened bit better?
Well, I went to school in Finland, my native language is Finnish, so English was the first foreign language we were taught. My parents decided it would be more beneficial that I would learn German instead. That was kind of waste of time as the school methods of learning a language really did not work on me… One of the things about dyslexia can be difficulty with short-term memory. Studying a language by memorizing new words never worked for me. In from one ear and out of the other. And if I did manage to remember the words for the weekly word test, they would be out of my head by the time next weeks word test came around.
Same was with Swedish, which is the second language in Finland and as such compulsory. Now the funny thing was that all along I was listening to songs in English, watching movies in English (lucky enough in Finland they never dubbed movies) and as soon as I got into playing music, I started to sing songs in English. So I went on to learn English by my self, and with little help from my mother. How did I learn English? By associating it with either interesting story, or a melody and putting it to a practical use, listening to the sounds. Both my German and Swedish teacher failed to do this. But I’m not blaming them, they were just following the grammar heavy methods they had been taught, and in all fairness it worked for most of the kids, to a certain extent.
So as much as right now, I would love to be able to speak German and Swedish, I don’t think the school’s method was a way for me to learn languages. History and Geography I definitely learned much better on my travels, just simply because it is much more engaging when you are there. Math? Well… I never got in to computer science, so in my career the need for higher level maths is not really necessary.
Here’s the thing, after the basics, reading and writing, being able to socialize with classroom full of people of my age, figure out how not to piss off the authority figure (teacher) most of the time, there was one lesson I learned that has been detrimental to my success in music business. And ironically, I though it to my self… It is the constant asking of what is the point of this? What ever I do in a studio, rehearsal, songwriting, music promotion, tour booking, I constantly ask my self, what is the point of this?
I know this might sound like I am brushing school off as a general waste of time, and I am not. We need school, but we also need to rethink what is the point of teaching everyone to stand in a line, sit quietly and not ask questions. Instead we need to teach our children to ask hard questions. We need to teach them to create things. We need to teach them to solve real life problems, not just math equations.
Now as an artist, even more than ever I need to ask my self what is the point of this? Is what I am doing helping my career, or could I be spending my time more wisely?
The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE