For me, one word says it all.
But I fully understand that a lot of very successful
and happy and well-adjusted giving back to the community people out there
have little or no formal education,
so instead of talking about the pro and con and of education,
and bringing in all the statistics,
I’d rather just talk about the part of education that is dearest to my heart:
A lot of people I know are calm, quiet, decent, and low key.
Two of my kind would be kryptonite.
(Hey, at least I try for decent)
But the point is:
Life is living.
However you do it.
If you are happy,
go for it.
But many many people just live,
and aren’t happy.
They aren’t learning the lesson:
Read, listen, take courses, talk to those who really know something,
but keep up.
Put yourself where you learn something.
And move on beyond your limitations.
And your past.
Not too long ago I was asked to stay around after a concert for questions.
And ended up sitting with two retired school teachers.
One told me how he used to be at the top of his field
and about all the field study projects he did with the students then,
and how he was always in the newspapers,
but now he had this problem with his leg since he retired, jadajadajada.
The other is taking classes at an adult education facility,
to better help out in a program for the illiterate.
And since the center is also a community center for various groups,
he asked me about a tv program he had seen.
About integration of handicapped into regular choirs.
The point being:
There are basically two kinds of choirs-
social and performance.
Social party a lot, help each other with projects-
usually linked through a church or fraternal organization (ie Shriners etc)
Make sure it has no competitive element.
And it works best with either all men, all women,
or, the very best, in my opinion, mixed, as long as you make sure it has ALL ages.
And NEVER let anyone sing solo.
The second is high performance,
and basically consists of singers slowly working together to try to take over the choir,
starting over-ambitious projects with no money to pay for it,
then giving an exposition concert
where the conductor has to wear a Pringles can that covers his head,
and most of his body,
and dance to stay solvent.
(happened to a conductor friend of mine-who did the performance, and then quit)
and finally, slowly, inch by inch,
killing off the conductor.
who either quits,
or is fired and moves on in the conductor’s carousel
(x number of conductors, x number of choirs- who gets which choir this year? –
that takes place after every major concert,
or, at the latest, at the end of every choir year.
I once took, and finally left, a choir
which had had seven conductors in ten years.
And I conducted seven of those years.
(Most of which years were actually amazingly positive)
This, in my opinion, belongs to the professional education
no conductor should face a group without.
Maybe it is being done today at colleges.
It isn’t where I teach.
(Here you are tossed in cold-
spend a lot of time floundering,
then learn the bitter truth through much wailing and gnashing of teeth
(with colleagues at continuing education seminars.)
(And then still going back to your choirs, because you love the job)
If The Truth About Conducting 101 isn’t being taught where you are,
you have now been educated.
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