Matthew Oldridge is a Grade 7 and 8 Student Success teacher at the Peel District School Board. He is a father, a Math specialist and a TEDx speaker. He is working through the creative process as he prepares for his upcoming presentation at TedX KitchenerEd on September 28th. Matthew is also a runner and an eclectic music listener noting, “I’m willing to listen to any music, once.”
Matthew believes that Math should be full of surprises, and his P3 (link to come) certainly was. He picked songs that he likes to listen to a lot and really mean something to him. When Matthew selected his nostalgic song, he chose a song from the album The Times They Are a Chang’in. He knew it from live recordings that were traded on tapes way back and then, eventually, on CD. “Unlike the gnomic and hidden later artist who retreated behind persona," mused Matthew poetically about this the artists and song, "I think it is actually real and written about a real person.” Our guest who made it to see this iconic singer/songwriter when he was at an OTF Math conference in the summer declaring, “Bob Dylan is paramount among all others and is the titanic artist of our time.” He began listening to Dylan’s Highways 61 Revisited when he was 18 and often comes back to his works. Here is Boots of Spanish Leather (Live at Carnegie Hall) by the Nobel Prize winning Bob Dylan.
Going from bootleg tapers to taper sections, Matthew chose an identity song recorded by a band that has a designated area for people to record their music when they used to tour. He listens to a lot of different music, but he always comes back to the folk or country world. The acoustic guitar and the harmonies, “treads on the edge… really close to being too hippy dippy, but it’s not.” Matthew hopes he is as mellow as the song but has many personal connections to the lyrics noting that the journey of life is ”…no simple highway” and, “… if I knew the way, I would take you home." While he has no fixed meaning for the song, he referred to several lyrics including That path is for your steps alone. He said, "I have a very distinctive path, I have a loving family, but sometimes I have to walk it alone.” The central image reminds him of a haiku, so I found one about a ripple by Walterrean Salley:
Ripples in the pond, Simply spreading right along. A magical sight.
There is a version of the song that was created by artists from around the world called Playing for Change. Hearing this magical song got me thinking about the documentary Festival Express where Jerry Garcia set Robert Hunter’s lyrics to music. According to American Songwriter, Hunter recalled… “We were in Canada on that train trip [the Festival Express, 1970] and one morning the train stopped and Jerry was sitting out on the tracks not too far off, in the sunrise, setting “Ripple” to music. That’s a good memory.” Here is the original song, Ripple, recorded by the Grateful Dead:
Matthew’s motivational song is on his running playlist. “When I used to run a lot of 5K races, you need a right tempo song. I would always finish with the Stooges Search and Destroy…when you need a spark, this is a good song to pick you up.” Beyond the upbeat nature of the music, Matthew connected to the lyrics of the third song on his playlist, referring to unnecessary stumbling blocks being thrown in his way. “I want to tell people to stop throwing obstacles in my way, or get out of my way because sometimes people put up pointless obstacles…" said Oldridge. This song, though, is more about personal motivation than responding to anyone. Sung by a two piece band out of Vancouver and rated 24th best song of 2012 by Rolling Stone, here is Japandroids with The House that Heaven Built.
The right music can get you to the right mindset. Matthew spoke about other music that inspires him and things that take him “inside the song”. The Disintegration Loops by William Bassinsky was some of the ambient music that Matthew got into this summer and helps his work flow. While he said, “Sometimes, I don’t need words,” I am looking forward to hearing his words and many inspirational ideas at TEDxKicthenerEd next week.
Source: Noa Daniel