Dylan Hudecki is a Casa Guide at DVMS, a recording artist who has toured internationally, and in general just a wonderful, creative, inspiring, good man to work with and call a friend. He also runs “School of Rock,” an after school Music and Performance class for 6-9-year-old kids, who this year made a short film recreating the Star Wars saga in 6 minutes.
What got you started with Montessori in the first place?
I was trying to find employment being a T.A. in the Toronto School Board where I was living, but was finding it difficult. So I worked at several different group homes for young offenders. It was kismet that I applied for and landed a spot in a Montessori school in my neighbourhood (Taddle Creek) with a fantastic principal, Gail O’Gorman, who just happened to be looking for an assistant. It was the perfect job to acquire at the perfect time in my life, and I was instantly transformed. I feel my competence, flexibility, creativity, and large amounts of patience allowed me, and continue to allow me, to fit into a Montessori environment very well.
How do you maintain a social life, a family life, a Montessori life, and a career as a recording musician?
I have slowly purchased and taught myself instruments and recording technology since I was 13, so it’s always been a part of my life. It’s a full time hobby. Family life is fantastic and it fills me with countless amounts of joy and fodder to use in my art and music, as does school life. The stories and creativity that I’m enveloped in on a daily basis in Casa North definitely translate (consciously or subconsciously) into my art. As per maintaining all of them, it comes down to investing time in each. I have to pick and choose my moments, and properly schedule and plan recording sessions, shows, school functions, and family trips with the sacred all knowing calendar on the fridge, which I would be aimless without. But I have to remember, at the end of the day, as John Lennon taught me, “life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.”
What are your favourite materials in the Casa classroom?
I have faves in each area, like the stamp game, washing linens, reading cards w/ pictures, painting, to name a few. Some months my class is excited and fixated with one material, like writing or metal insets or counting chains, etc. I’ve always personally loved geography, so it’s natural that the kids and I get excited together about the continents and all the countries in each, then with the extensions of each job we learn: the flags, the animals, the landscapes, the people, the food, music, the wonders (natural and man made), and attractions. It’s a lot fun. The children this year have already chosen their destinations they want to travel to with their families (sorry about your wallets folks 🙂 ) which include: the Taj Mahal, the Pyramids of Giza, and number one (would you guess it?) the Leaning Tower of Pisa!
Have you had any noteworthy experiences in the classroom as of late?
Any situation involving the kids negatively at recess that hasn’t quite been resolved by the time they come back in I use as a learning exercise. After the situation is explained to me (usually by two exasperated youngsters), I ask the children in question to write each other apology notes with the movable alphabet and then they write it on a piece of paper to give to their peer. I find this to be a very productive and educational way that the kids can apologize to each other. It also shows them that it was maybe a little more serious than they thought, something that a simple “I’m sorry” doesn’t quite suffice to resolve. I also gave a pretty good pep talk the other day about Chris Hadfield, who was way up in the International Space Station at the time, about how, in the class he was in as a child, he learned how to do everything in it. Through his hands, and the materials in the room, he filled his head with so much knowledge, and the kids could too if they really really want to. That’s how he learned so much and was invited to study and work at NASA. I was inspired myself, because of the looks in their eyes and smiles. It was a special moment, if I do say so myself.
What is your favourite music or art coming out now, local, international, or years ago that continues to inspire you?
My wife Skye and I always have music on in our lives. Whether it’s listening to CBC Radio to and from work, or listening to music at dinner or an ambient playlist in our bedroom to sleep, it’s omnipresent. Presently a few of our go to alt/rock bands of choice are: Darwin Deez, Hayden, Bibio, Beach House, Dan Lanois, Velvet Underground, Sparklehorse, Grizzly Bear, Beck, James Blake, Radiohead, I could go on. Locally: Young Rival, Steve McKay, Zeus, too many to name.
Musically I’m working on 3 albums. A solo record I’ve been chipping away at for about 15 years, a psych/rock record with one of my bands, “High Kites,” and an ambient record under the alias “Awesollator.” Release dates on any of these? Your guess is as good as mine. I always love to inspire. It’s one of my attributes, apparently. So I’ll just keep going by modelling a high level of work and intriguing content (whether musically or in the classroom), and just working together to have an exciting life with my best friend Skye, my family, my class, and with the circle of friends I surround myself with. After all, we only get one ride right?