I met a Taos colleague today for a discussion around the notion of jamming, in a musical sense, as an analogy to how we work with others. Since I teach a course called, "Collaborative Inquiry", I was keen to investigate this notion with the intent of being able to explain the idea of collaboration from various perspectives.
As we 'riffed' on the subject, I jotted down a few key concepts. One that immediately emerged was the idea of a 'minimal structure'. When jamming in a musical ensemble, we still need to have a key and generally a time signature, although as a musician, the time is generally assumed to be 4/4. It even helps to have an opening chord, although if you have a key, then arguably, the group can follow each other's lead.
Within this minimal structure, we then need to consider our audience. Can they follow our lead and and cacophony? Within the minimal structure, we also consider the individual within the team. How much risk can they manage? How much risk will the audience support? We compared musical groups and their ability to either play something different each night to reflect their mood and interest, or conversely their ability to reproduce a musical piece with exactness. In either case, there is talent and challenge, but what does the audience want?
I then introduced the idea of Freire and his assertion that educators must "create the conditions under which learning is possible". To paraphrase, how do we create the conditions under which we can GROOVE?