Monday, July 21, 2014


Back to reality after visiting the realm of Ventriloquism at the 2014 Vent Convention.  It was great to see friends and fellow peers as well as meet some new ones.

Almost from the first moment I became a ventriloquist people were telling me it was a dying art.  From what I could see last weekend it is far from drawing its last breath, in fact there is a new generation of "voice tossers" that seem ready to carry the torch.

I gave a rather detailed lecture on the physiology of ventriloquism and the voice during the week. I ended it with part of a talk I give on Imagination.  I got a lot of nice compliments on the lecture and everyone seemed to agree they enjoyed the Imagination talk as much as the "how does it work" section.

I am an evangelist for the idea of Imagination. It seems to me that with all the advancements of technology we have forgotten the importance of imagination.  Apps on an iPhone seem to do the impossible, so you rarely see a kid without one.  But because we have access to the product of someone elses imagination does that exercise our own?  I don't think so. After all, the very app or toy that kids enjoy today was first created from someone's imagination. 

I grew up in a time when I could spend hours watching rain drops in a puddle.  Admittedly I did not have the extensive availability to toys that kids do today, but I was not impoverished.  I distinctly remember a time in Abernathy, Texas when, as a five year old, watching rain drops hit a puddle just outside my bedroom window one morning.  At the impact of a droplet,  the puddle seemed to rise from a level surface and expose a small explosion on the watery stage.  To me it looked like small members of a choir standing to deliver their musical contribution to an unheard song.  I could envision the refracted drop as a conical choir robe with the round head of a small singer rising up from the water's surface in random order to deliver a musical solo.  I can still remember that moment and these jumping choir members standing for their individual solos.

I am not saying we should go back to the Stone Age and make children play with rocks but we need to encourage them to use the greatest force on earth... Imagination.  Nothing has been done that was not imagined first.  

I am blessed from having a Mother who had  incredible imagination.  She did not know at the time she was not only preparing me for my ultimate career, but a life time of excitement and joy.

Albert Einstein said, "imagination is more important than knowledge".  Can't we teach that important ability along with math and science in our schools.  But it seems like the first thing that is cut from a school budget are programs for the arts. When will we acknowledge that Albert Einstein was right.

As you were,



John Hardman said...

Good subject, good thoughts. I remember my 4th grade music teacher, Miss Romine, teaching us about classical music. The whole class loved it but most of us were having a hard time with the names of the pieces...the "etudes, movements, symphony numbers, etc." were difficult to place with the sounds. Finally, she said...."Use your imagination. Here. I'll give you an example" She then, on the piano, played the theme from a Franz Shubert symphony. Then, she played the theme again and sang...."This is....the symphony....that Mr. Schubert never finished." Suddenly she had an energized class on her hands. Imaginations soared. Tons of titles filled the room when she played.

To this day I sing along when I hear Richard Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries"........giddy up horsey, giddy up horsey, giddy up horsey, giddy up woah."

John Hardman

Tom Farrell said...

Jay, I was at your lecture at Vent Haven, it was fantastic and so in depth. I wish you had recorded it and it was available on DVD. I would buy it. It was pure gold.

Anonymous said...

Great blog on "Imagination" Jay. Picaso said, "Everything you can imagine is real." I believe that our imagination gives us strength. Michael Genevie

Cheryl said...

Bravo - Well said, Jay!

P. Grecian said...

So sorry I couldn't be at Vent Haven for your lecture. I know it was sterling, just as this blog post was.

Gwyn Oswin said...

As a mother, I worked hard to keep from overloading my kids on technology and toys that did everything for them. We only had one television (a 19" fatback with no remote - and only over-the-air channels), a limited number of noise-making/robotic toys, and no gaming systems or cell phones until they were close to being teenagers (and those phones are not smartphones; they only recently got keyboards).

But I made sure there were shelves of books all over the house and that I took them out to things: the zoo, the library, the museum, the science center... the vent convention! And also to protests, all of us fighting to keep the arts in their schools. It's difficult when their friends have more "advanced" lives, but my kids do still have their imaginations intact! Now I'm working on my nieces and nephews, buying silent toys and books and puppets for gifts to counteract their piles of non-imagination-building crap. It's a battle, but it CAN be won!