One of the privileges of my job is to visit various universities and talk to students about my corner of the music world. On Monday I traveled down to Bloomington and had the chance to speak to a class full of future music educators. As all but one of them were brass and woodwind players, I had the chance to talk about some of the things they might have to deal with if they find themselves teaching orchestra for their first professional job. That part was fun, but the questions were the best part. The questions are almost always my favorite part of these talks, but these students asked truly amazing questions. “As a future educator, what are some of the things we can do as directors to make the relationship with our local music store smoother?” After I thanked her for asking such a thoughtful question, we started breaking down the various components of a healthy relationship between director and store representative. After a minute or two we all stopped and I said, “We’re not really talking about a specific type of relationship anymore, are we? We’re talking about the basic components of any healthy relationship – friends, family, professional – the basic components are the same.”
I came away feeling bless by my time with those students. If that room full of future educators (and funky Altec speakers, see photo) is any indication, we have a great deal to look forward to. I will eagerly await the next chance to visit and see what we can all learn from each other.