Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The New American Dream

A hallmark of my message to others is to discover the artist within yourself. An infinite potential of creativity lies dormant within you and I. 

This is the foundation of all problem-solving skills.

Original Photo by Theresa Keil
The New American Dream
First Published January 12, 2012
“…But out of limitations comes creativity.” – Debbie Allen

“Mr. Jordan! Over the weekend I filled up a cup with beads, taped the top, and made a shaker!”
This has been the most potent affirmation that I’m doing my job well at the Baltimore City school where I work as a mental health counselor and resident drum circle facilitator.

The student, we’ll call him Justin, had an “A-ha!” moment; an experience of his own creative identity- and he didn’t do it by sitting in a stale classroom.

Our 20th century society fed us a road map towards the American Dream.

Go to school for seven hours a day, sit at your desk, keep quiet and follow the rules. Get a good-enough job, work eight hours a day, keep quiet and follow the rules. Do this for a half-century and you will be rewarded with a retirement plan and the gold watch.

Although devoid of individuality and creativity, this worked well enough for a short time.

This model is currently failing and though it’s painfully obvious, students like Justin are still being taught under this outdated and limiting model of how their future should unfold.

The 21st century reality is quite different.


Monday, November 5, 2012

Who Are Our Teachers Teaching?

Welcome to the Beatwell blog! This is where I will be sharing my drumming and wellness experiences and insights. I will also be sharing the stories of others who contribute to their communities in similar ways.

This first post will direct you to
What Weekly, an online magazine documenting the Baltimore Renaissance. They have been publishing my work for a year now. My first post was written during my Mental Health Therapist internship at a Baltimore City elementary school.

I invite you to comment below and share my stories with your social networks. Cheers! -Jordan

Photo by Brooke Hall
Who Are Our Teachers Teaching?
First Published November 11, 2011

As a music educator entering a mental health internship in a Baltimore City School, I was most excited to experience the school’s music class.

What did I expect? An underfunded curriculum with minimal and aging instruments, but a dedicated teacher using creativity to make up for lack of resources.

What did I find? A music educator’s dream classroom stacked with all types of percussion (who’s seen congas in a public school?!?), brass and woodwinds, piano, etc., and digital tools to project Powerpoint notes for the class to follow. What was missing was an educator who could effectively connect with his students.

Now understand, I have an unending respect for anyone who dedicates their work week to helping children in Baltimore City reach their potential, especially for little pay and respect in return. However, even the best of intentions doesn’t translate into effectiveness.