Changing Perspectives

Forgive me father, it's been 6 months since I last blogged...  Shaving this morning, I had a stream of consciousness that drove me to the keyboard. I apologize now to the workshops today as I'm skipping breakfast to get this out before I lose it.

When I was in college, I literally picked up the upright bass for the first time and in two semesters I was asked to join the SWT Orchestra.  No, I was not a prodigy, but I simplified some runs and sections so that I could lend a hand to strengthen a fuller bass sound.  I had a great time playing and once, because all the good bass players in Central Texas either had the flu or died, I was the Principal Bassist for a concert.  I've been around music my whole life and some things kind of clicked this morning when I was thinking about a situation at work.

When you are in the orchestra, you have a conductor and you have a Concert Master. The conductor, um, conducts the large group of musicians. He gives his direction for the piece and can give it life unlike others playing the exact same sheet music.  The First Chair Violinist (or Concert Master) is a player like everyone else, but at the beginning, will play a note that everybody else in the orchestra will tune to.  (Sometimes that is an oboist, but I couldn't find a hillbilly oboist picture on Google.)  All that said, if the Concert Master fails to play a consistent note, the entire orchestra could get off pitch and sound like carp quickly.

There are days when I feel like the Conductor for my job, (let's call him Educational Reality for Technology Use in the Classroom), is providing a dynamic direction for the musical score that we have in front of us.  There are amazing runs of notes that would find students collaboratively and creatively using technology to demonstrate knowledge and push their own learning.  And on those same days, I feel like the Concert Master, (let's not name this person, but I'm sure you can place a face from your own environment here), has us tune to an A flat minor augmented sharp chromatic tin can and there is no hope of making beautiful music in a large group.

I was feeling overwhelmed this morning. I like playing in the Ed Tech orchestra. When I play with others, (see how I avoided the phrase "when I'm not playing with myself"??) , there can be a kind of music that transforms others and makes a difference in the classroom.  I work with some of the greatest Ed Tech musicians in the world and that part is incredibly fun.  But I sometimes feel that other sections in the orchestra or particular first chair players are either four beats behind or playing an entirely different movement. I feel frustrated for the audience who may already not have a great affection for orchestral Ed Tech.

However, a co-worker yesterday told me that sometimes we just need to change our perspective.  I like to do that with photography already. Makes for interesting pictures!  But how can I do that in the orchestra?  Quite possibly, it will involve being more proactive. I don't think I could teach a hillbilly to play Wagner, but I can reach out and find others in the orchestra who want to play in a quartet. Play to the smaller venue where the notes can be heard more clearly. I can't change the Concert Master, but I can provide music that maybe he or she can listen to and develop an appreciation for.

ADD is not a friendly co-worker and often plays into my environmental frustrations. Playing Ed Tech music that others like to listen to is a gift from above and something worth the time spent trying to improve each day.  So here's to changing my perspective today. I will look for those different angles and melodies that I can use today to avoid Concert Master frustrations.  I will stay positive today and work to create satisfying music for my audience.

How do you change perspectives in your environment?
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