Who am I? I’m a musician, but a different musician.
Perhaps one of the best ways to describe myself is with the following quote from Leonard Bernstein.
“If I knew (what gave me greatest satisfaction between being a composer, a pianist, a conductor and a teacher) I would do that exclusively… But I can’t! Everything to do with music excites me. And music is my world, that’s where I live.”
Bernstein is one of my personal heroes. He did it all and made no apologies even when he was criticized for doing what he felt was truly right (I’m still working on that myself).
I identify strongly with him. I too find myself unable to call myself just “a musician.” Not only is this word far too often linked foremost to “performer”, the word simply doesn’t encompass my range of interests, skills, or work. It would be so much easier to say, “I’m a music teacher,” or “I’m a composer,” or “I’m a writer.” One thing that people would understand. But I am more than those.
I majored in music with an honors thesis in composition and theory, then I went on and got my Master’s in Music Composition. I was surprised and delighted by the end of the program to learn that a) compositional skills were highly transferrable to the other musical arts, and b) I really loved teaching. My position as a Graduate Teaching Assistant confirmed what I had suspected for a while: I was destined to be a teacher. Not only did I come from a family of teachers, but teaching was one of few areas in which I felt naturally confident.
Furthermore, that job led me to the belief that education was the best way to inspire positive change on local and global levels. The music classroom, especially, was an ideal place to do this. My thoughts about the arts, culture, society, and education all converged in my classroom of undergrads, where I encouraged discussion-based learning and implored students to think critically about their world. This felt right to me. This felt like what education should be. Not compartmentalized skills and content, but interconnected subjects and dialogues.
It took me a few years to get a job after graduate school, but I currently am happily employed as a music teacher and Band/Chorus director. My philosophies developed through my own schooling guide my teaching every day.
Additionally my teaching assistantship, I became profoundly interested in the relationships between arts, society, and education. I had loved to write since I was very young, and I had so many ideas I wanted to share with others. Blogging was the perfect outlet.
So that’s what you’ll find here! A mix of music, musings, and materials that I hope will be useful, or will at least get you thinking about ways to share your passion with others.
Yes, I am a different musician. It’s hard for me to hone in on the one thing that is me. But perhaps it is just that: passion for what I do and the desire to share it with others.