Saturday, September 13, 2014

The 85%

Since I have been at ASU I have engaged in some really great conversations.  Conversations that have really challenged the way that I think, the way that I think about teaching, how I teach, what I name it, I have probably thought about it.  I have really enjoyed those conversations as they really force me to be reflective.  I have done tons of reading that has made my brain fold inside out and right side in more times than you can imagine.  But that is why I am down here, to get me out of my comfort zone.

But that is not what this post is about.  This post is about what I get to do every Tuesday and Thursday night from 7:30-9:00.  This is about what I do during that time after already being at school since 8:00 am and my brain is basically shot.  I am playing in the ASU Concert Band.  This band is non-auditioned and is open to all majors.  Most of the band, about 85% of the band is non-music majors.  The rest are made up of music majors-typically freshman/sophomore and a few junior music education majors, and me :)  I could have easily had all these kids as students, which is a bit unnerving, but it is a lot of fun.  I get to make music in a low-stress situation.  I didn't want to audition for a group and I'm not sure that I would have had a whole lot of chance, given the DMA students down here.  And really, why should I take away somebody's position who really needs that chair in the top band to fill out their resume.  This music making opportunity is just for me to continue to make music so that I can feed that part of my musical soul.

This post is dedicated to that 85%.  Why?  Because that 85% is the fruit of our labor as music educators.  My conversations with these students, and why they are still making music, has been more powerful than any conversation that I have had down here.  These students had someone in their lives that pushed them, that encouraged them, that showed them how awesome music making is. These students, as one girl said "just love band and can't imagine not playing my flute."  They have other interests as well, which is why they aren't pursuing music as a degree, but something held their interest.  Wow.  That is powerful.  And humbling.  I'm sitting in a sea of students that could have been my students.  Students that I could have instilled that love of music.  Whew.  That's quite a responsibility.

These students are the majority of our students that we see on a daily/weekly basis.  These are the students who are going to advocate for our programs when their children are in our programs.  These are the students who WE used to be.  That's one point in our music making careers, we were young students, who didn't necessarily know that we were going to go into music, but something about it made us love it to keep going with it.  From elementary school to middle school.  From middle school to high on and so forth.  Music making is part of these students' identity.  It is part of my identity which is why I cannot fathom ever quitting my instrument.  I am here because in addition to being an educator I am also a musician and those two items, for me, go hand in hand.  They don't for everybody, but they do for me.

My whole point of this is that when you look out at your sea of students, don't just look at those students who you think are going to be music majors, because most of them won't.  Look out to those students and think of those as the future University Choir or Band or Orchestra members.  Instill a love for music making that they will be able to continue beyond their time with you.

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