December 20, 2013: My high school orchestra director

Sometimes the teachers who come into your lives and are some of the most important are there for the shortest amount of time.  I had two classes with my high school orchestra director (theory and orchestra) for one year, my senior year of high school.  You would think in a year there’s only so much one teacher can teach and grow on a student, but the reality is, he was a fantastic teacher and I learned a lot.  My favorite thing to repeat, that I learned from him, is the following: the present is the point of power.  What you do in the present affects who you are in the past and who you will become in the future.  It’s a pretty interesting thought and a pretty powerful one as well.  That thought is also one that’s had an impact on me for a long time.

Sometimes, it feels like it doesn’t matter how you act at that moment.  Sometimes, you just don’t care how you act.  Then there are those moments you stop and consider the affect that your actions will have, or have had.  Those are some interesting moments.  How does that way you address someone the first time affect your relationship.  How does something you say to an old friend affect your relationship.  How does going on a field trip to see Shakespeare’s Othello affect a lot of random things you never thought it would affect?  There are many what if’s many details to consider.  How does choosing to take a music theory class in high school affect the rest of your life? (Well, to start with it may, or may not, have taught you a lot of music history which saved your life in college! 😉 )

Having the opportunity to be in my high school orchestra solidified some important friendships, gave me important opportunities, let me learn a wide variety of repertoire under a gifted conductor and teacher, and it taught me a lot about how I wanted to teach.  My director, and this orchestra, also taught me that, no matter what, no matter if nobody else takes a given ensemble seriously, you must and if you do, even if you’re 10th violin, others will start to take the ensemble seriously too, because the present is the point of power and I’m grateful to have a teacher who taught me that.  Thank you!


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