In an article by Philip Bohlam, where he talks about musicologists being scared to pluralize music because it is forever changing. It also talks about the canon today and how it’s maintained by composers who continually compose for music today. As I read on the idea that stuck with me, like my college Laura, was “What about the teachers?”
So the more and more I thought about it, who taught the composers? Teachers did! Teachers or conductors taught the musicians that have changed the world. Mozart even learned from his father despite being awesome. Then I got to thinking about my role as a teacher while being a conductor. I spoke to Dr. Lowell Graham and he explained a lot of things to me. The main point that stuck with me was “The fish rots at the head.” While that is a metaphor that was used for something else, it applies to teaching. I need to be the best musician I can be so that my ensemble can be the best it can be. With that, there’s a snowball effect that happens with people. They love being in an ensemble and then they want to try to be a solo and then they explore their horizons. It all happened because I made my ensemble the best place for them to be at that time.
I took time to speak to my private teacher for conducting, Dr. Elisa Wilson, and what I took away was that she is about the rehearsal more than the performance. She cares that everyone is taken care of and that we learn how to study and work together effectively. It taught me that as a teacher/conductor, I need to remember to teach and not be about the performance all the time. It’s about finding that happy medium to ensure that all of the members of the ensemble are comfortable. It’s the motto that “If you want a happy work place, have a happy crew.” Too often, conductors think about the sound they want to move the audience. It’s perfectly fine to do so however, we’re molding the minds of musicians who are going to change the world. We need to remember that.
In my undergrad at University of the Incarnate Word, I was in band (even though a voice major) and sadly we went through a couple of band directors. We have one currently by the name of Dr. Brett Richardson. He was always punctual. He was always tough but fair, always. He would teach his class knowing that we were the future musicians who were going to change the world at least for one person. I learned a lot in his class but mostly he taught me how to lead by example and that anything is possible if you can dream. While that last one sounds like a corny line from some kids movie, it’s true. He came into a program that wasn’t well developed and made it his.
So, what’s the point you ask? The point is to share what I’ve learned about myself within the past 48 hours of reading the two articles assigned. Within the two articles, they describe the worries and concerns of the canon that music came from and keeping it’s integrity. Regardless if I were to be a performer, teacher, conductor, composer, or music therapist, I would be keeping the canon alive. It’s something I feel important to bring sight of. It’s something I will continue to remember as I go forward from this class and continue the pursuit of my masters in music at the University of Texas at El Paso.
Bohlmann, Philip. “Musics and Canons”. In Disciplining Music: Musicology and Its Canons edited by Katherine Bergeron and Philip V. Bohlman, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992, 197-209.
Saavedra, Leonora. (1979). Leonora Saavedra, “Of Selves and Others: Historiography, Ideology, and the Politics of Modern Mexican Music” Phd dissertation, University of Pittsburgh, 2001.