I had the rare opportunity to attend a music conservatory for my undergrad degree. Westminster Choir College is a small (like 400+ students total) music conservatory that specializes in the choral tradition. By paying a lot of money and with a lot of talent, you can sing with the major orchestras in the world, record grammy-winning albums and study with famous instructors. You can also meet a lot of crazy there. It is intense – my class started with 125 and ended up graduating 33 of us. I don’t stay in contact with a lot of people there, other than through facebook, because crazy confined in a small space is detrimental to your health. But, I have carried amazing lessons with me from that institution. Here is what a music school’s work truly is:
1.) Defining. Intense music study shows, shapes and steadily develops who you really are.
2.) Commitment. This is hard core – if you can’t decide to follow through, you won’t succeed.
3.) Solitude. Being in a practice room by yourself for hours on end can be the best therapy in your life.
4.) Community. Singing in a choir of voices that all strive to excel produces a sound that resonates inward and outward.
5.) Strategic. You need to know what part you play and where you fit. Blend.
6.) Freeing. Take what you’ve learned and sung and cried and screamed and laughed about and let it loose into the world. This becomes your legacy.
Now transplant that into your classroom. Into your office. Into your life. Think of all the power those collective units have to change the students we teach. Because in the end, we are all teachers, no matter what you do for a living.