R/S Chair Blog
Entries in Youth & Student (5)
This past week and a half I was lucky enough to sing in a choir with 23 other tremendous musicians with gifted voices led by the world-renowned Simon Carrington. As one of the younger and less-experienced members of the group, I was very aware of the game of "catch-up" I was playing constantly to be up-to-snuff and make a strong contribution to the choir. This was a challenging battle juxtaposed against a very high musical standard. No mistake went unnoticed in rehearsal. Intimidating. But it was my response to my imperfection was the critical factor: create a snowball effect of self-doubt and sloppiness OR practice, anticipate and execute. Both this year and last, I have found that being thrown into the musical deep end has increased my skills, boosted a good natured self-confidence, and provided a really enjoyable experience in the moment.
Upon discussing this with my better half, I realized what a parallel there is to those beginning years of teaching (as my third year has just finished up). Many times in our careers we don't know what we're capable of or maybe we even doubt what we can do. Our skills, knowledge and experience are still developing. That's why we ought to throw ourselves in the deep end of the pool every chance we are able because it's only there that we find out if we can swim. Personally, I've needed a musical "life guard" from time to time to save me. That's one of the roles my MCDA colleagues/friends have been of help. But the next time diving back in, there was a better sense of how to stay afloat and I'm on my way to being a better swimmer... I mean... teacher and conductor.
We must continue to temper ourselves with fire in order to sharpen our skills. When a good performance opportunity presents itself, DO IT! When we find a gem at a reading session that would really challenge our singers and ourselves, DO IT! Let's shed any fear of clinicians, adjudicators or bad publicity. Let's continue a choral culture in Missouri of movers and shakers who are active with our singers and communities. We will be absolutely imperfect! Isn't it a relief to know that in advance? We now have permission to go out there and DO. Here's a great quote I got from one of my fellow singers this last week:
"Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome." - Samuel Johnson
Simon Carrington himself gave an interview last week where he credited his success in large part to being a boy chorister at Oxford where he was expected to be "spot on" for daily services without prolonged rehearsal. When he arrived at Oxford as a seven year old, he didn't possess the skills, knowledge or experience that the older boys did. But practice, anticipate and execute is what Simon did over and over until he met and eventually exceeded the standard. While few of us will ever have the opportunity to sing for daily services at Oxford, the concept applies universally.
Students and New Teachers in the Kansas City area! There will be an informational meeting about opportunities for you in ACDA/MCDA, this summer's amazing student and new teacher sessions. There has never been a better time to get involved and develop your skills. So, come on out and plug in. No need to bring anything (except a friend).
Our meeting will be hosted in the Grant Hall Building of the UMKC Campus at 1pm, March 16th. If you are a visitor to UMKC, you are very welcome - just please email me at email@example.com so we can plan accordingly.
I look forward to meeting many of you next Friday!
Youth/Student R&S Chair
Calling all college students! We are excited to announce that beginning March 1st, free rooming will be available to the first four women and the first four men who register online for the 2012 MCDA Conference AND who make note in their online registration that they are willing to help move equipment July 17th or July 20th. This is a great opportunity to cut the cost of the conference, meet new friends and have some fun stories to take away.