Blog Post #1: hello

Hi. I’m Lorrie Edmonds, a second-year student in the Sound stream of Communications Studies, returning to university to blast open my mind and upgrade my skills. I’m a longterm community-radio maker, hosting/ producing/ programming a weekly music podcast called I Will Not Return Your Records for an international online freeform radio station (Radio23.org). I used to do a music radio show on CKUT-fm here in Montreal for many years, but have taken a leave of absence to do this school thing. I’ve also worked as a music director at CKUT, a music researcher and writer for radio, magazines (remember those?) and websites, and as a booking agent for underground musicians. I also do volunteer work for the Suoni per il Popolo festival that takes place in Montreal every June.

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My time is eaten up by schoolwork, listening to infinite realms of music, reading, putting together my podcast, going to music shows, and sleeping.

My goal for this class is to rethink the way we each situate ourselves in any environment. I’ve always been fascinated with the potentiality of spaces: how traditional and non-traditional spaces can be used or subverted for varying purposes (performative or otherwise), how environments actively participate with the senses, and observing the outcomes of engaging/ being engaged in differing places. I’m very sensitive to the feel and sound of particular spaces, and I’m interested in creative, unusual, liminal, or subversive uses of space.

One wild place I’ve discovered is the ‘pods’ of salt water at Ovarium. You enter a room that leaves you alone with a pod full of Epsom-salted water that is heated to body-temperature, and you simply get in and float on its surface as if returning to the womb. You enter naked or in a swimsuit (I go raw), you can leave the pod open if you prefer (I close it), you control whether you have soft light illuminating the pod or float in pitch-black space (I choose darkness), and whether to have piped-in new-age music or pure silence. In there, I “get back to the id”: I feel smooth, weightless, perfect in my imperfections, not quite human, both small and large… at one with the soft water, like a speck in the oceans and in the universe itself. After 60 minutes, the end of your float is signaled by a chorus of angelic singing; never underestimate the sonic amazement of underwater acoustics! I usually emerge from the pod refreshed and somewhat zen.

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Five things faculty do that make learning hard include:

  • Vague and unclear instructions for assignments.
  • Long, dense, arduous readings that are not unpacked and discussed in class.
  • A lack of timely communication outside of the classroom between instructors and students.
  • Professors who act aloof – as if they are above both the material and the students – and race through important material too quickly.
  • Unrealistic loading of deadlines with all assignments due within the same week.

Five things faculty do that make it easy to learn include:

  • Those great instructors (profs and T.A.s) who are enthusiastic about a subject, are open to dialogue on the topics, and only want their students to succeed.
  • Instructors who engage with students while appreciating differing levels of comprehension and imagination brought to the table.
  • Concordia’s vast online resources (when they work and are available).
  • Staff who reach out when they see a student struggling or having difficulties.
  • Having practices/ policies in place to accommodate different learning abilities.

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