Reflections from a Band Director

My brother-in-law is the Head Band Director for the Graham High School Rompin’ Stompin’ Big Blue Band. He is a great teacher and a great coach, and he shared something on Facebook last week that really struck me. What follows is his post after a bad rehearsal, and I wanted to share it with all of you. The word “band” could so very easily be changed to “dance”, and it’s spot on for how your dancer’s teachers feel after a bad or unfocused rehearsal.

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All credits due to Josh Kidd 🙂

“This morning, we were not at our best. Believe it or not, for many programs, this morning would have been considered a very good rehearsal. In our program, we value the pursuit of excellence in the smallest details, the tenacity to push through challenging moments, the ability to hold our heads high while recognizing the way we approach our craft, and the realization that the group is bigger than the individual while maintaining a sense of community and togetherness. As you might expect…we didn’t necessarily live up to our ideals. And it’s ok.

 

Some thoughts as I think about tomorrow’s rehearsal:

 

1. Band is fun because we are continually provided the opportunity to perform, entertain, and inspire those around us.

 

2. Band is fun because it is hard. Challenges grow the individual, and we come out stronger in the end because we can look back and admire the journey from the mountaintop.

 

3. Success as a group is founded upon an individual’s ability to contribute to the whole in our weakest moments. Bands are not judged by the contributions of the most talented individuals, but the success of the weakest.

 

4. Each one of us is a valuable part of the greater goal of fashioning a group of individuals into a production that is larger than anything we could create on our own. Each of us have specific jobs.

 

5. Band is home when home isn’t. In our most difficult moments, we are granted the ability to come together and lose ourselves in performance, pushing away all of the struggles outside the sidelines.

 

6. Rough rehearsals, whatever they might look like, happen and only we get to decide what we do with them. We can retreat and let them define our path or refuse to surrender and come back with even more tenacity and resolve. (You know what I choose…I don’t know the meaning of surrender.)

 

7. I have the greatest job in the world because I get to hang out with awesome people like you every morning.”

 

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Finding Passion

I love dance. I love to dance, I love watching dance, I love teaching dance. I love the way it makes me feel and the way the body marries the music in meaningful ways. I believe strongly in the values it teaches and in the hard work and the skill-building required to carry it out, but at the end of the day it is my passion. It makes me emotional. I will be moved to tears equally by pieces that are sad and pieces that are happy, if the dancer is living their life during the time they are performing. My husband (lovingly) teases me when we go to a live performance and I cry, even if it is a wildly happy musical. selma tapNothing else stirs emotions like that for me like a live dance or musical theater performance.

Not everyone who comes through our doors will find this same all-consuming passion with dance that many of their teachers have. Some find that passion with music, art, sports, math, etc. We dance teachers have chosen dance as our vocation and our life’s work, but lots of dancers who come to the studio do it because a parent has encouraged them to or because their friends are there. There is no bad reason to be there, and whether a dancer joins a recreational class for just one year or falls madly in love with the art of dance I am happy to be a part of their journey. But if even ONE student of mine finds the real passion that I have found in dance, I succeeded.

Want to see if dance is your passion? Or your child’s? Click here to try a class for free.

Extreme Focus

We received the best feedback this week from a new adult student trying Tap for the first time. In a social media selfie where she was beaming from ear to ear she spoke about how much focus it took to take a tap class. That for 45 minutes her brain was nowhere but that classroom. You may imagine that kind of focus to be constricting and potentially frustrating, but I absolutely loved that she described it as “freeing.” lex pic 3Speaking of a clear mind and a consuming amount of presence, she reminded me of something I take for granted a lot. That no matter how stressful your day is or what is going on personally or professionally, dance requires your full attention and gives your brain and soul renewal.

As a teacher I don’t always feel this in the classroom, as I am providing this experience for others. And I’m proud and happy to do so! But it’s true; when I get to take a class and be completely consumed and focused it is the best refresh of my mind and spirit. It makes me so happy to be the facilitator of a place that is a refuge for the brain, body and soul! Interested in seeing for yourself? Trial a class for free! 

Dedication and Commitment

One thing that dance teaches is unwavering commitment. Many a dancer has missed a party or a play date because of rehearsal. There are exceptions, but generally the dancers who show up consistently, on time, and ready to work are the ones who get cast most often or move up levels faster. When you sign up for a dance class you are dedicating yourself not only to your own growth, but to a teacher and to classmates that are affected when you miss classes.

 

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This is such an important lesson to learn early in life. Dedication to your job, your education, or your extracurriculars matters. Once you get into college it is “optional” to attend class, but if you don’t attend you likely won’t pass. Once you start a job it may be easy to get shifts covered or use personal days, but you probably won’t get the promotion. And showing up is only half the work. Dancers learn to be hard workers and self motivators, and we would love to help teach that life lesson to your child. Interested in a free trial class? Click here.