Shane Lawrence has been on the podcast podium for a few years now, and his offering has evolved to become The Ed Podcast, which you can catch on VoicEd Radio and through iTunes.  The BYODcast was Shane’s first podcast, coincidentally inheriting the gear in time to put it to good use. He gathered with colleagues monthly to discussdifferent aspects of the school’s changeover to Bring Your Own Device. Interviewing other educators, plus the check-in that he still does, increased over time to 3 interviews a months and is a “pile of fun,” according to Shane.

Shane sang in a choir for a lot of his life. When he lived in Prince George, British Columbia, he was a soprano in a choir called Bel Canto that was invited to perform all over the world. Had an incredible director that helped to instil a love of music. He then joined a mixed chorus at the University of Alberta, touring once a year. “Music has been there for me,” declared our guest.

Shane’s nostalgic song has sat with him for over 25 years. It reminds him of how music helps to define who he is. Shane is a real fan of the artist whose was first introduced to the him in high school during a rotation with a teach who opened him up to this “big and deep” and indefinable sound. It followed him through a period of life when his existential questions drew him to this transgressive artist who helped him find, “beauty and joy in breaking some of those,” rules and “resonated with me as different and important.” Shane shared that the artist’s music, “carried me through a time in my life that helped me define myself and what I believed in.” While he has changed a lot since that time, he introduced his nostalgic song and his deep appreciation for the role the artist played in this formative period in his life as, “…crisp and sharp and beautiful.” Here is The Grand Wazoo by Frank Zappa.

Shane’s identity song was written in 1948 by the poet and songwriter Eden Ahbez and originally sung by Nat King Cole. The last line of the lyrics is a profound insight: “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”

Shane selected this version because it paired with his favourite film, Moulin Rouge. This “haunting and beautiful version” of the song is not a literal reflection of his identity. Shane feels that he is an observer encountering the Nature Boy, the title of the song. His perceived purpose on this earth is to “witness beautiful things.” Shane shared, “When I see things that are beautiful, mountains and lakes, and sometimes things that are far more mundane, I feel something resonate.” As he described this song and the meaning of its lyrics, he added, “It doesn’t sound like it was written but like it was found deep within the earth where the ancient gods lie.” This song reverberates for Shane. “…It’s like hitting the right note in music that vibrates a window pain.” One of the aspects of the song that really grabbed him relates to Keats’ notion of negative capability.  “You can be surrounded by the mysteries of life and be content to be surrounded,” and just immerse. There is real beauty in the unknowable. This song really has an other-worldliness quality to it. Here is Nature Boy sung by David Bowie:

As the father of a three and one year old, Shane sometimes needs help waking up after his interrupted sleep, a reality to which most parents can relate. Some good solid noise, like audio coffee, can really help to charge the day. Uniquely, he came to discover this band through gaming. One of their songs was featured in a video game called Bio Shock Infinite. “There are a few songs in existence that I think the more you turn them up, the better they sound…something more is revealed…and you cannot play it loud enough.” Now the top of his playlist and something that really pumps him up, here’s Nico Vega, I Believe (So Get Over Yourself):

Shane and I booked extra time so that he could interview me for The Ed Podcast before I recorded his Personal Playlist Podcast.  We shared a lot of insights, reflections and personal narratives during the recordings. We discussed my leap to consulting and why BOBs are unique and powerful learning tools. You can catch that podcast here.

Shane will be on a new adventure teaching Drama, Film Studies and Computers this year. While he will miss teaching English, the subject can be integrated into the others on his docket. Actually, his playlist connects to each of the three subjects perfectly. Although giving up teaching the subject you love can be very challenging, it is a great catalyst for creativity and employing a growth mindset. I’m sure it will be a great year of learning ahead, for all of us!