Threads are Tied
When I think of teachers who have strongly effected me, I get to think back to many of my various music teachers. There is something about the expressive nature of music that naturally brings mentor-ship into the classroom. It is a hard subject to quantify academically – in my opinion, it is harder to judge skill than in other arts because individuals rarely perform on their own.
If there’s one thing I remember about my favorite musicians to learn from, its that they ask the best questions – big questions. These are the kind of questions that get you thinking about the nature of music, the role of the musician, and who you are – and who your family is.
I had the privilege of having the same band director in middle school and high school. We developed a strong relationship because of it – we regularly saw each other during, through, and after school. He was a motivator – he often asked me questions that got me to try harder. “Why aren’t you trying out for Section Leader?” or “Why Aren’t you applying to college?”. I’ll admit it – I was rather disenfranchised with school by the time I was in 11th and 12th grade. I wanted to move on, and I was pushing away from things like marching band and wanting to go to college for music. His questions stuck with me after I graduated high school – why wasn’t I doing more?
Little did I know that question the irked me, and challenged the low-hanging-fruit-picker I had chosen to be, would motivate me to do more. I applied to university, and went into music. It wasn’t easy, but along the way I started meeting musicians and artists that had more questions for me. What is the right note? What did Shostakovich’s work mean? What is silence? What is music?
Somehow, nearly a decade later, those caring, motivating, and self-challenging questions have led me to a career I never expected.