Thursday, June 14, 2007

Silence is Golden

You may think this is a bit random, but...this issue has come up in virtually every figure drawing class or drawing group I've ever attended. What exactly is the issue in question?

Whether or not to listen to music while everyone is drawing.

This isn't a trivial matter; folks on opposite sides of the issue can get ugly about it. And, despite the fact that I love music...and, when I'm drawing on my own at home, I usually have music, (or talk radio), playing in the is my opinion that figure drawing groups & classes should not have music playing.

Here's why: people have widely varying opinions on this issue. Even the ones who do want to have music playing, will usually have widely varying ideas on just what sort of music thay want to hear. One person may want to listen to Judas Priest. Another may want to hear Enya. Ultimately, even if everyone agrees to have music playing, there will be some portion of the group who can't stand the music choice. So, now they will be forced to be creative and be drawing to the best of their ability while music they hate is being forced upon them. Not a great situation for producing quality drawings.

And then, there's the situation where everyone wants music playing except for one person in the group. So, now that one person is put into the pressure situation of either going along with the group, or voicing their opposition and feeling the wrath of the group. Again, not a great situation for producing quality drawings. (And why should anyone have to feel that sort of pressure in a drawing group? Isn't producing quality drawings enough to be concerned with, without having to be worried about alienating the rest of the group with your musical preferences?).

I say....stop the insanity! The only fair, reasonable, and easy way to get around all this drama is to institute a no music rule in the drawing room. Trust me, you'll all be better off, and it will save a lot of drama and hurt feelings.

I know, I're screaming to yourself..."what about i-pods?". Well, that's fine, as long as you make sure the volume is low enough to not be overheard by your fellow artists. In a quiet drawing room, that tinny buzz coming from your headphones can be incredibly annoying. My advice if you're going to go the i-pod route.... before you put on the earphones, tell the artists on either side of you, "please let me know if this is loud enough to bother you, and I'll be glad to turn it down". And do it, with a smile, if they say it is!

My long-time figure drawing professor in Geneseo, Rosemary Teres, always insisted that having music playing in class was a bad idea, and that it would hinder learning. Back then, I didn't agree, but now...I can see her point. For the good of everyone, and the group as a whole... keep it silent. And, on a related note... please, for heaven's sake, turn off your freakin' cell phone before the drawing session begins!