Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Silver Linings

Nothing really ever came easy to me with regards to music.  I had some talent which I attribute to my mother being very musical.  My mother taught piano and sang, and I remember music being a huge part of my childhood.  I also had great music teachers and musical opportunities as a young girl, and was one of the top singers at my high school.  So it really wasn't a surprise that music became my vocation...but it wasn't an easy peasy lemon squeezy journey.  I went from being the big fish in a little pond in high school to being a little fish in a big pond in a very large music department at the University of Iowa.  In college everything was bigger and harder and more competitive.  My music classes were very hard and the people in my teachers studio were very talented.  My freshman music theory class started out with 80 people and ended up with about 40 at semester. 

It was an 8:00 am class everyday so that might have had something to do with it

I was not deterred.  I worked hard, practiced hard, and used my brain to acheive not just my talent. 

I auditioned for many MANY things.  I got picked for VERY few.  I learned that success wasn't just about getting the part, but it was about not giving up, tackling problems, and finding solutions.  I had opportunities to teach as an undergrad and I enjoyed it very much.  I enjoyed sharing my solutions and work ethic with others in hopes it would help them with their journey.

I loved my student teaching experience.  I enjoyed working with elementary school kids and high schoolers alike and when I was done I was faced with a choice...go to grad school or take a newly opened teaching job.  One required me to move 1500 miles away from the only home I knew and the only people I loved and the other allowed me to stay right where I was.

I decided to follow my dream and go to grad school with the hopes of being an opera singer.  I got a scholarship to the University of Arizona, packed a U Haul, said good-bye and set off with my dad and brother to another adventure.

I auditioned for many MANY things.  I got picked for VERY few.  I worked hard and learned all I could from the vast amount of talented people around me. 

I, however, was not a very good opera singer.  I found out I was a very good teacher as I enjoyed sharing my knowledge, passion and problem solving skills.

A week or so ago I had this student who was very upset about not getting something he auditioned for. As we talked for about 20 minutes I realized that I would not have been able to help him if it weren't for the numerous auditions that I didn't get. I realized then, that I am a good teacher not because of my successes but because of my failures.

I know what it feels like to work hard and achieve.

I know what the heart ache feels like when you don't get the part you wanted.

I know how to sulk about it, and brush myself off and keep going.

I know what it feels like to not be the most talented.

I know how to find the silver lining in any situation.

I know how to empathize.

Everything happens for a reason and that reason might just be the gift of empathy.

More Later

- A Ro


  1. You have so many experiences that will help your students in the future. You are so right. Everything happens for a reason.

  2. Not only can you pass those lessons on to your students, but more importantly, your own children. Tenacity and courage to KEEP failing are so important in our "instant gratification" society.

  3. a lesson learned with grace, my friend.

    music theory past high-school is a different world... you get extra brownie points for doing it so early. ;)