I am the Anti-Luddite

Luddite: a person opposed to increased industrialization or new technology: a small-minded Luddite resisting progress.

DVDPicI try to stay current on technology and how it can benefit me. Before 2006 I had ripped all my audio CDs into digital files and while living in Thailand I gave those physical optical disks away. Why do I need them when I have all the quality and contents in one folder of one drive? Similarly I handled my DVDs of movies, ripping them to standalone computer files and discarding the disks. Years later, very recently, Apple Computer is once again leading the industry in eliminating optical drives from their computers; first they lead the charge to smaller hard-shelled floppy drives, then to optical drives, and finally to getting rid of these optical drives altogether declaring them irrelevant.

That makes me feel rather brilliant, as if leading the charge in the right direction well before the battle was known. Brilliant, forward looking, that’s me.

MHOpusA few days ago a friend mentioned that I made her think of Mr. Holland’s Opus, as if I must know what that was all about. As it turned out I didn’t but I immediately went to Google and found a synopsis of a movie by the same name. It is about a man whose ambition was to write one memorable piece of music and in the meantime to make ends meet he became a music teacher. What he discovers accidentally is that his calling and true fulfillment in life was to teach music. If I may quote John Lennon, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” This movie sounds like an inspiring feel-good movie that does indeed strike a chord with me.

My initial search for this movie was to look for some sort of digital download, through iTunes, through piracy, whatever. All I was able to find was the purchase of a DVD on Amazon.com so that’s what I did. Yesterday the yellow cushioned envelope arrived and I opened it to make sure it was what I was expecting.

As I sat on the living-room couch, DVD in hand, I looked at my 55-inch wall-mount TV set. And then I looked at the DVD. Back and forth I looked until it dawned on me that there is no DVD player hooked up to that TV. My wife Cathy very much wanted to watch this movie with me.

It will play in my computer because I have an early 2009 Mac Pro with a built-in optical drive. I tried to rip this 1995 movie into a file I could move to a USB thumb drive and then plug into the TV but my software couldn’t handle it. First time, and I’ve ripped some heavily protected DVDs in my day (over 600). Granted I’m rusty, but there seems nothing I can do with it.

HDI seem to be undone, not by my avoidance of new technology but rather by my looking too far forward and embracing the future. When I buy software or content it is by downloading it. The last truly major software I purchased came in the mail contained on a one terabyte hard drive. I don’t play silly games with these tiny four-gig containers anymore, they are a waste of space and they are horribly slow.

Then it hit me. Buried in the back of a closet was a special device for burning VHS tapes to DVD. My parents had all their home movies converted from 8 mm to VHS tape a long time ago and I took on the chore of trying to burn those to DVD after which I intended to rip them to computer files. That recorder never really did the job but I dug it out and we just finished watching the movie a few minutes ago. It really was a made for me.

There’s something about teaching someone music one-on-one. As every piano is different than all the others and it takes time to learn to take advantage of its strengths and weaknesses, so a student also has their strengths and weaknesses. It is very much like the student is an instrument to play and you need to find that familiarity and inspiration with the student just like you have to find the common ground between yourself and a particular instrument. Once its all worked out it is a wonderful thing but it does take a lot of time and patience. Time well spent and an end unto itself.


10 thoughts on “I am the Anti-Luddite

  1. Ahhh~ I should have tracked it down and sent it to you guys! I am sorry that my idea was such a labor but a labor of love in the end! Glad you saw in the move what I saw in the little I know of ya! YOU!
    Did Cathy see that too? I am glad you guys watched it together I imagined you doing it just that way! It was pretty heart tugging hey? BIG GRIN!!!!!
    Did I have you pegged or what? It is one of my favorite movies. I have only known a few Mr. Hollands in my lifetime. Two of them were my daughter’s drama teachers…
    I remember pulling up at about 4AM in the morning to drop her off to catch a bus in the school parking lot for a Shakesphere competition and thinkng arghhh what the heck am I doing?! And then seeing their teacher in his sweats with crawled out of bed hair… and smiling thinking of that movie. And then another teacher, another year taking his class to New York with his wife. (My daughter used to house sit for them when they would take future classes year after year. They were an amazing couple. They were the ones that encouraged her to go away to drama school. The wife ended up dying sadly of a heart defect but she is still in touch with him and I am sure always will be.) And now you. I am not fortunate enough to be one of your students but from what you have taught me, I am sure the parents of your students see a little Mr. Holland in you!
    Thank you for making the effort to find something that I felt was important for you to see.

    • Cathy and I very much enjoyed Mr. Holland’s Opus. Normally we only half watch things being as much immersed in our iPads as we are in the show on the TV. This was different as the only distraction was to pause the movie for a short break for the bathroom or to get more coffee. It kept us both rapt.

      I do think we have been teaching things to each other and I hope it continues for a very long time as we both have much to learn and much to offer. Truly the best of all possible situations.

      My video camera should arrive today and then I have to learn how to use it well enough to make an adequate presentation. Then I will begin teaching piano and the process of making music from the very beginning. I’m hoping that given this video camera can provide wonderful zoom and clarity that WordPress and VideoPress will not downgrade the quality too much before the viewer can see what I make. We will see soon enough! I have a brief diet video in mind as a test case. I should now, once the camera arrives, have all the tools I need to make this work and work well. Both teaching and creating these online lessons gets my thoughts unified in ways I would never have dreamed possible.

  2. Reblogged this on The One Thing I know For Sure and commented:
    This is my Musician friend’s blog who surprised me with a melody attached to my book I am still in the process of finishing. At first I wasn’t so sure what he was all about… He is very honest, sometimes painfully so… He came in the backdoor and critiqued my posts from the beginning to almost the end. (I have almost 200 so gotta give the guy a lot of credit and a little break! Smile.) He praised some and constructively shredded others. And oh how I have learned. Some kicking and screaming but I mean when someone just reads one post, it is validating! But several at a time, commenting on each and every one, well that feels amazing! Even when he challenged me to do better! Anywaaay~ now I am positive I have found my very own Mr. Holland! (Remember Mr. Holland’s Opus?)
    I don’t think he gets enough recognition for his talent so just wanted to share his blog with you.

  3. Haven’t seen that film .. maybe I should … yes, it’s not easy with all those gadgets that change so constantly. Glad you manage … to figure things out.

    • You have to allow for it being an older movie without the fancy production quality of today. I liked it that way because it allows room for the story to take center stage. The ability of a teacher are oft times underrated. Sometimes it is apt to say, “Those who can’t teach, do.” All the great composers of the past wrote, performed, and taught. These things keep one well grounded and well rounded.

      It is hard to keep up with things and to figure out when to let go of others. Touch and superb screen quality have been the latest big revolutions. The so-called retina displays are wonderful but they spoil the look of everything else. I’m in the market for a new computer but so many things are changing right now. I’ve taken a wait and see attitude for the time being while I work on my craft.

      • Hi there, thanks for your comment … this with computers are really getting a bit out of hands, doesn’t matter what we buy it’s beaten by something else in a couple of months and less. I’m totally lost .. in transit when in the digital world. Hope you find what you’re pleased with.
        I only want things to work and be strong – that give a good picture and has great RAM and memory. I think the more defined everything goes .. the more sensitive it will be. Good luck.

    • I bought it because there was no way for me to rent it locally to where I live. It’s not the best movie ever made but it is something I personally needed to see. I thought the ending was a bit much and I didn’t care for the ending piece of music, but watching someone become a teacher was of great interest for me.

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