Who knew that the most important life lessons and skills I have learned AND retained originated from my music education. It’s funny, or possibly more ironic that all the required speeches and presentations throughout middle and high school have had little to no influence on me. Well, unless I’m aiming to be completely unnatural and glued to 3 X 5 cards…The list of lessons I drafted is about a mile long, so I’ll periodically introduce the various categories.
Without further adieu, the lucky number 1 is appropriately: 1st impressions.
Regardless of anything – preparation, connections, experience, etc. – 1st impressions are powerful and permanent. In preparation for choir state competitions, we practiced for literally hours stage entrances and exits. We knew we began our performance the minute we put our robes on and even more so the minute we stepped foot on stage. We practiced countless times “walking on stage with a purpose” and of course with “yes!” faces. We knew the exact place on the riser to stand down to the inch to prevent awkward space adjusting and we knew down to the second how much time we had to get the entire 125 person choir on and off stage.
In anything…whether a meeting, phone call, email, or in our case a performance at a competition, anything out of the ordinary is a giant distraction. For choirs, this means any face-touching, stole-adjusting, movement, etc. Mr. C would hold up one finger and expect every last of the 250 eyes on that finger…if not, we wouldn’t continue until he had that focus. I can’t tell you how many times we practiced STANDING on stage for hours at 6:30 am, running through our pieces. Our director would stand back and at the sight of ANY distraction, would stop the song and make us start completely over – even if we had been up there for 20 minutes and were 3 measures from the end.
I didn’t realize how much I would incorporate a high school choir experience into my daily life; however, any time when I am trying to make a good first impression, give a speech, run a meeting, etc. the learnings from my high school choir have had an enormous influence on my behavior and habits.