Stay smart.

September 8, 2008

Today is the first day of school again, and I had a visitor – the man who was hired as a medical leave replacement for my choral conducting professor in my senior year.  I’d always admired him for his comportment in class, with a bunch of self-inflated seniors dealing with the sudden absence of a well-loved and well-known woman.  He was just very, “I know you’re all just very important.  Now show me what you’ve really got.”  Lots of classmates were very huffy about being asked to prove their shit.  I loved it, ’cause the professor who left was the same one who was so stingy with compliments.  I had the chance to prove that I was really quite accomplished at something, even though the professor hadn’t ever said it.

Suddenly the people who had been getting As for their zombie-like conducting were being called out for it, and the people who were willing to listen to this new perspective and work hard at their projects were earning the grades they actually deserved.  It was cool.

I’m sure it also helped that I was one of the people earning an A.

Anyhow, I kept the email I was sent with the grade on my final project, and after this man visited me today, I searched and found it.  It was a pretty crap day, so this made me want to get out a box of tissue, quit my job and go to grad school for conducting.

“What? You’re the total conductor package: musicality, technique, smarts, personality – and in just the right proportion, and you know how to put it all together and use it. Now stay smart: always watch and listen and keep learning (so much to know in the big wide world!), keep your sense of humor and modesty, don’t let your gesture deteriorate over time, and the choral world is your oyster.”
The choral world was my oyster.  I wonder if it still is?

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