Welcome to the third edition of DMIdeas—A blog series for student leaders from the Bands of America Drum Major Institute Staff. The BOA Drum Major Institute is committed to helping leaders dig deep into their own personality and discover the natural leadership abilities that already exist while simultaneously providing new skills for greater effectiveness. Leadership is at the CORE of every great endeavor. And at the CORE of every great leader resides honorable Character, comprehensive Content, effective Communication, and an active role in an organization’s Chemistry. Each blog will take a look at one of these facets. It is our sincere hope that we can both inform and inspire! CORE!
What Can We Give?
This past month I was helping with Music for All National Festival in Indianapolis when I had a defining moment in my life. That sounds dramatic, and it’s not intended, but it was a moment that I will remember exactly where I was and what happened. To not keep you in suspense, it was at the banquet that concludes the weekend before the National Honor Orchestra and National Honor Band take the stage. Franz Krager was the speaker for the night. I have known Maestro Krager for many years now. He is one of the most vibrant, exciting conductors to watch, but more importantly- he is one of the most genuine, giving people I have ever met. I am paraphrasing, but he spoke about how in our lifetime there will be very important marks on our radar that have changed the course of our life, people who give unselfishly to help us, and events that are “defining moments”. In the moments he was talking about this I began to drift to my own story. What, in my short time here on earth, were some of those marks on my radar? I would like to share a few things that have made their mark with me:
1. My mother- I know it sounds very cliché, but she has been my mentor my entire life. See, she is a music educator. I grew up in a band hall and a choir room for most of my life. When I think about the type of teacher I would like to be, the “make-up” for what I can give back- I hope that I can be like her. She taught me to give my best, finish what I start, and be in a constant mindset that I am capable of anything because of the talent within every person.
2. The book entitled “One: How many People does it take to make a difference?” is written by Dan Zadra & Kobi Yamada, edited by Kristel Wills. I am a big believer in inspirational quotes and motivating stories to use when educating. This book is simply that. I use it when talking to my students about giving their absolute best. Some of my favorite stories within the book are: What Can One Do? (my favorite quote is “I am but one, I cannot do everything, but I can do something”) and You are Royalty. The book allows one to write in his/her own story, experience, and favorite things that influence life.
3. Adagio for Strings by Samuel Barber. I think the piece speaks for itself, but for me, it was a defining moment in which the song was present. I believe with any audience, music educators or general public, this song has the ability to create emotion and feeling that is universal. It can educate all of us about life and possibly, death, love, passion, patience, and simply the gift of silence. Every note has meaning, like every decision we make in our life.
4. Oh The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Suess- who doesn’t love a Dr. Seuss book? I try to read this book every year. It is just one that each time I read it, I get something different out of the book. I think that is because each year we evolve, events happen, and a new chapter of our life begins. I was given the book when I graduated high school. At the time I thought, “Why would you give me a Dr. Seuss book at my age?” Now, when I can, I pay it forward. It is one of the best pieces of advice to give.
5. “To All those who enter… You are subject to the relentless, refining process of music, through uncompromising standards.” This is painted on the wall in our band hall for all students to read daily. My former boss, Bruce Dinkins, was taught this from the band hall of William Revelli. This is an oath I attempt to live by, not just with music, but with life. I believe that we, as educators, and leaders of our programs (students as well,) are in the business of developing great people for our communities, character for future leaders, and citizens that give to others because someone once gave to them. Music is the tool that we use to do that. Yes, the power of music has all of those capabilities.
It can transform people…Inspire others…Create a change.
These are just a few things that keep me going and motivated everyday. I encourage you to find those “pieces of the puzzle” that make the grand picture of “you” shine. Share those moments, stories, people, and pay it forward. I think that is the one thing I hope that we will learn as leaders and citizens… the question is not what can we get, but more importantly- What can we give?
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