Today I come home, my home away from home. Ball State is where I spent four years of my academic career and it was the best experience of my life. Flash forward a few years from graduation and I work for Music for All. Today my staff and I are gearing up for the 2015 Music for All Summer Symposium.
The drive up from Indianapolis to Muncie I had this feeling of reuniting with an old friend. Something is special about Ball State and it is rather hard to describe. It is as if I am reuniting with an old friend; however, they have had many changes as have I.
Making the turn down University and then McKinley I was hit with a flood of memories. From living in the AJ building with my PR friends to endless nights in Bracken and walks around the Quad to going to football games at Scheumann Stadium. I was like a little kid preparing to go to Disney World. The biggest smile and all excited.
It is a bittersweet reunion back on campus as all my friends are gone, there are new buildings up and I am now here for work. This will be my first Music for All Summer Symposium and I couldn’t be any more excited. I am ready to see students and directors from all over the country arrive on campus and create memories. Just as I created my own the four years of college, I know get to create a new chapter of memories in a familiar location. Being able to create these life-changing experiences for students will be the highlight of my camp experience. Hearing their stories, capturing the moments and getting to know as many of them as possible!
Stay in touch with myself and other Music for All staff members as we write, tweet, Facebook and share not only our experiences at camp, but the people who truly matter… the students! We are here to brighten their musical education experience and push their passion of music and the arts!
Check out the photos from the first day of the Leadership Weekend Experience!
If the photo stream above is not viewable for you, try this link http://on.fb.me/1NixlNV.
I had the opportunity this afternoon to attend a session led by Frank A. DiLallo, presented at the Leadership Weekend Experience at the Music for All Summer Symposium, presented by Yamaha.
It was a session right up my personal alley – with emphasis on compassion for self and others, and mindfulness as a component of self-care. I have served in various leadership roles, starting in my high school band as first chair flute and drum major of my high school band, and over my 30 years with Music for All. I also have a personal meditation and mindfulness practice, which, along with a regular meditative yoga practice, has shaped how I approach my work, and how I interact with my staff, coworkers, and those we serve. Students were given tips and techniques to add mindfulness to their leadership toolbox.
The central concept throughout Frank’s session was the self-care is critical for leadership. The session explored how stress impacts performance and ways to reduce stress.
Frank asked the student leaders “Why does it matter? What does stress have to do with leadership?” It appeared that every student raised their hand at the opening of the session when asked who regularly feels stress, and there was no shortage of answers offered to “what does stress have to do with leadership:”
“You can’t help others if you’re stressed out.”
“When you’re stressed out you’re more focused on yourself and block out other people.”
“You can’t think straight and it’s harder to make good decisions.”
That last one is key. Negativity can be contagious. So can positivity. As Frank said: “Be a positive contagion. Just like a stone tossed into a pond will have a ripple effect that will eventually spread out across the entire surface of the water, so can your attitude affect everyone around you. Be a positive ‘stone.’ Create a ripple of positivity.”
Frank offered these keywords to describe qualities of leadership, or “PAVIC:”
Ideas (also Integrity, Inspiration, Influence – “I” words offered by the student leaders in attendance)
Leadership starts inside us. Everything we encounter is an opportunity to grow. We must first take care of ourselves and make sure we have balance to be in a position to effectively lead.
Self-care and self-compassion make for a more effective leader. Frank offered great tips for students to cultivate the internal balance necessary for leadership. Those tips included checking in on your stress level, on your breath, and on your balance.
“Attitude is everything” and students took away ideas for creating a personal affirmation statement, and how to check in on their environment and relationships – do your environment and relationships make you feel loved, supported, and celebrated? If not, you can choose to make changes so that you do.
“Take time” was another tip that resonated deeply with me and is a key concept in mindfulness practice. Frank offered tangible ways to be present and “anchor” your experiences, to take time and honor that time.
The session concluded with a visualization meditation practice, led by Frank. Students were invited to take a comfortable seat or position, and then to check in with and relax each part of their body. (Check out the photo above: they’re not napping in class, they are deep in “visualization” mode!)
The meditation ended with a visualization of a “place of awe” that Frank had invited students to think of at the beginning of the session, and then to anchor the experience of that moment and feeling.
I am grateful that Fran Kick, our leadership programs coordinator, has asked Frank DiLallo to share these practices with our students over the past 12 MFA summer camps. I believe wholeheartedly that mindfulness practice, and compassion for self and others, makes for strong leaders.
In his book, It Worked For Me, Colin Powell, the former U.S. Joint Military Chief of Staff and Secretary of State,says that kindness is not just about being nice, it is about recognizing another human being who deserves care and respect. Powell once told a senior staff meeting, “You can never err by treating everyone in the building with respect, thoughtfulness and a kind word.” Powell says that being kind doesn’t mean being soft or a pushover.
Some mistake a show of force for leadership. Leading with compassion and kindness in a world of extraverted, charismatic leaders can be seen as being “soft” or as weakness. In reality, those characteristics are strengths. Treating others with respect, kindness, and compassion results in greater enthusiasm, productivity, and motivation to push the limits.
Cultivating balance in your own life, and compassion for self and others, is key to being a leader that empowers others, and that can sustain your personal leadership role.
About the Presenter
Frank A. DiLallo holds a B.A. degree in sociology and a graduate degree in counseling. He is licensed in Ohio as a Professional Counselor, Independent Chemical Dependency Counselor and is a certified Prevention Specialist II. Frank has been employed with the Diocese of Toledo for over 25 years and is currently a Schools Consultant for 75 schools, pre-K-12. He has published several pieces that addresses bullying of boys and girls in “inspiring, meaningful, and sustainable ways.” He is the author of an audio CD, The Peace Project, filled with relaxation techniques, meditations, and music composed by Grammy nominated artist Tim Story. For more visit peacebewithyou.world and like Frank on Facebook/peacebewithyouworld.
Continue to follow Music for All Summer Symposium coverage at http://www.musicforall.org/what-we-do/summer-camp/2015-symposium-coverage!
Day two for Music for All Summer Symposium Leadership Weekend campers was a day full of pushing limits and challenging the ideas of what a leader should be. While first year leadership members stayed on campus honing in on key elements of being a band leader, second year leadership campers had the treat of attending the Camp Rainbow ropes course.
Other MFA Staff members and I made the trip off-campus and traveled to Camp Rainbow. After taking some back country roads, we pulled into the parking lot. Grassy fields and shady, yet muddy, wooded areas covered the camp while obstacle courses were spread all over the property. From rope courses to the “wall,” the camp was filled with challenges both mental and physical. While working together in small groups, these kids worked on 5 are: Cooperation, Humility, Integrity, Focus and Courage.
One thing that fascinated me was that these kids come from all over the country, from urban schools to rural schools, both large and small band programs. None of these outside factors mattered. These kids were here to focus on one thing, to bond with one another and take this knowledge with them back home to become not only be a leader and role model for new band students, but to become a “go to” person for the band director.
At the beginning of the day there were a handful of kids who took a leap of faith by stepping forward and volunteering to go first at the different obstacles. The timid, yet eager, students stood by, soaking in the information. The energetic and peppy campers encouraged others a little bit at a time. After walking around the camp, each group had more and more students willing to give it a go. This was all made possible because of the comradery and community these kids created. They were not afraid to fail because of the support of these new friends they had made.
These kids are going to do amazing things on the football field performing or in the classroom, and also as they are blossoming into the leaders of tomorrow. This camp has a contagious nature to it.
“Great leaders are not defined by the absence of weakness, but rather by the presence of clear strengths.” —John Zenger
On Saturday, 500 students arrived at Ball State University to begin the Leadership Weekend Experience! Students began with an opening session featuring Fran Kick, moved on to break-out sessions and small group sessions and finished the evening with an exciting keynote from Dr. Tim. Following the keynote, students were treated to a surprise party to cap off an exciting day!
Students received Leadership Weekend T-Shirts and markers and began signing each other's shirts while they jammed to the music. By signing these T-shirts, students are commemorating their Leadership Weekend experience and creating lasting connections with fellow campers.
The Leadership Weekend Party is a long tradition at the Summer Symposium, and while the returning Leadership students likely remember the party from previous years, it was a complete surprise to first-year attendees. The SWAG Team and DTAs (Directors' Track Assistants) chaperoned the party, and got in on some of the dancing!
At the end of the party, campers left to their dorms for the evening with new leadership skills, t-shirts full of signatures and inspiring notes and memories that the students will keep for a long time!
Tonight I was so honored to listen to Tim Lautzenheiser speak about what it is like to be a leader. I was sitting in the lecture hall waiting for him to take the stage and as he did, the whole room stood up and gave a standing ovation. That’s usually a sign that you are in for a treat, but I could have never imagined just how much.
He opened with the statement, “Leadership is doing stuff that no one else wants to do.” This made me reflect back to the old days when I was the captain of my volleyball team and how true this statement really rang for me. He went on and talked about different kinds of leaders. There are two types of leaders, those who want to be successful and those who want to be significant. If you want to be a successful leader, you are a self-promoter and if you want to be a significant leader, you promote others.
During Dr. Tim's speech I learned that leaders are selfless and that there are three ingredients to being a leader including:
1. Do what is right
2. Do not settle for less than excellence.
3. Serve other people.
You have to pick up other people to be better and, as Dr. Tim would say, “You are only as good as your leader.”
Throughout his speech, Dr. Tim told the most moving story I think I’ve ever heard. The story was about two high school kids named Mark and Jeremy. Mark believed in Jeremy and took him under his wing. This gave Jeremy the hope and desire to become a person who could save lives and realized he would have never been able to do it without his “big brother,” Mark. This story will touch my heart forever and will always make me think about what kind of difference I want to make in this world and the people I can lead by being a coach.
Thanks to Tim Lautzenheiser, I will work to make a bigger difference than I ever thought I could. I hope that the students who attended his session got as much out of it as I did and remember his words long after camp ends!
Continue to read our life-changing stories here and follow camp coverage and photos at http://www.musicforall.org/what-we-do/summer-camp/2015-symposium-coverage.
Today was the first day of the Music for All Summer Symposium Leadership Weekend and what a blast it was! After registration, hundreds of bright eyed and bushy tailed (which is quite an interesting but odd expression) students, SWAGS, faculty and MFA staff piled into Pruis Hall to kick off this fun-filled growing experience that, even for someone who’s almost a quarter of a way through her life, was nothing short of eye-opening and motivating in the best way.
It’s easy for many to wear the title, but, as Opening Session speakers Fran Kick and Music for All CEO, Eric Martin explained, it’s a little more difficult to actually exemplify the qualities that make you one. One message that was reiterated several times was, “The more effort you give this week (and in life), the more you will get out of it.”
This phrase hit home to me because it was something that had been driven into my mind daily during my collegiate years, and truly helped shape me into the go-getter that I am today.
My sophomore year at Murray State I joined Sigma Alpha Iota, a music fraternity for women. After you sign up to become a member, you go through a probationary period where you learn about the history behind the organization and get to know the members. I remember meeting with several active members in my chapter who said those exact words, “The more you give to the organization, the more you’ll get out of it.”
How this one statement proved to be so true! I made my focus in college, besides to my studies, to the Sigma Alpha Iota mission to further the development of music throughout the world and uphold the highest standards of music, and what I got in return was priceless. Lifelong friendships, career connections and the development of a sincere desire to advocate for the arts, just to name a few, has led me to where I am today as the Marketing Coordinator for Music for All. Such a simple phrase, but a life-changing mindset!
After the Opening Session, SWAG team members and students separated into Small Groups and Break Out Sessions to put the advice we received into practice. In Small Groups, we met with SWAG leaders and took time to talk about our interests so we could see that, though we are from many different places and have had many different life experiences, music connects us in a unique way.
Next we met with leadership expert and MFA Summer Symposium veteran, Frank Crockett, to learn how we can achieve success by being both an individual and a team leader. Groups of 10-13 students were given three boards, a rope, three blind folds and were told to cross from one side of three wooden blocks to the other without touching a field of grass. Each person had to demonstrate control over their own abilities and help others find their control as well. Through many trials and errors, it became apparent that sometimes the best method of leading is stepping back and giving others the chance to contribute, while at other times it may be taking over the role as a facilitator and comprehending all perspectives of a situation.
Overall, today was full of new beginnings, positivity and challenges that helped strengthen us. I’m impressed with each and every person attending and working this Leadership Weekend and can’t wait for even more life-changing experiences!
Check out more photos and stay up-to-date with everything happening during the MFA Summer Symposium at http://www.musicforall.org/what-we-do/summer-camp/2015-symposium-coverage.
Today, Friday, June 19, is National Summer Learning Day!
Led by the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA), National Summer Learning Day is aimed to celebrate and advocate to keep kids learning and growing in a safe environment every summer. Studies show a correlation between the increase in the amount of children who do not participate in educational summer activities and a learning gap that has caused them to fall behind in core subjects.
To offset this gap, a variety of organizations have put summer learning back on the map by providing children and young adults with opportunities to expand their creativity and improve their physical fitness.
Sleep away camps, day camps, seminars, writing workshops and other summer programs help set kids apart from their peers and set them up for achievement in the upcoming school year. Along with the main subjects being taught, these programs also help children build interpersonal interaction skills so that they can become effective communicators.
As the 2015 Music for All Summer Symposium kicks off tomorrow morning, we celebrate the privilege we have to contribute to summer learning! With hands-on activities and interactive seminars with some of the best educators and musicians, Music for All recognizes the responsibility we all have to make music programs, during the summer and year-round, one-of-a-kind and beneficial to students’ emotional and intellectual growth. We can work to become personal advocates and examples of the strength, kindness and positivity needed to become successful leaders in all areas of life.
Follow our journey at this week-long immersive music summer camp at http://www.musicforall.org/what-we-do/summer-camp/2015-symposium-coverage!
Today I come home, my home away from home. Ball State is where I spent four years of my academic career and it was the best experience of my life. Flash forward a few years from graduation and I now work for Music for All. Today the staff and I are gearing up for the 2015 Music for All Summer Symposium.
The drive up from Indianapolis to Muncie I had this feeling of reuniting with an old friend. Something is special about Ball State and it is rather hard to describe. It is as if I am reuniting with an old friend; however, they have had many changes, as have I.
Making the turn down University and then McKinley I was hit with a flood of memories. From living in the AJ building with my PR friends to endless nights in Bracken and walks around the Quad to going to football games at Scheumann Stadium. I was like a little kid preparing to go to Disney World, extremely excited with the biggest smile!
It is a bittersweet reunion back on campus, as all my friends are gone, but there are new buildings up and I am now here for work. This will be my first Summer Symposium and I couldn’t be any more excited. I am ready to see students and directors from all over the country arrive on campus and create memories. Just as I created my own memories during my four years of college, I now get to create a new chapter in a familiar location. Being able to create these life-changing experiences for students will be the highlight of my camp experience. I'm looking forward to hearing students' stories, capturing their moments and getting to know as many of them as possible!
Stay in touch with me and other Music for All staff members as we write, tweet, Facebook and share not only our experiences at camp, but the people who truly matter… the students! We are here to brighten their musical education experience and push their passion of music and the arts!