MIAGD: Make it a great day
We just finished the Season of Thanksgiving and the Season of Giving. Some will begin preparations for the Season of Lent. As the studio revs up its busiest season each January it turns into the Season of Complaining.
January, February, March, April, and May are my hell months because we are busy with:
- OMEA solo and ensemble (OMEA | Ohio Music Educators Association)
- Students with solos in OMEA large group contest
- Auditions for musicals
- Prepping for musicals once auditions are finished
- Show choir season
- Seniors auditioning for colleges
- Percussion & Winter Guard season
- School music programs auditioning for ensemble placements for the next school year
- End of the year concerts
- Senior solos for end of the year
- Leadership auditions for marching band
- Now with several more Summer musical theatre offerings there will be more preparations coming up in April and May
This is an exciting period in the studio’s life because the students tend to kick it into gear with more attentiveness to technique and musicianship. Some students need those deadlines where many students are consistent.
However, there always hangs an air of negativity: “I’m so busy,” and, especially, “I’m so tired.”
I never realized how exhausting this becomes for me and that it begins to wear on me. So, I’ve decided to put an end the Season of Complaining.
I am blessed with a full studio of young folks who are on the road to excellent musicianship, most of whom are in the top ensembles throughout The Miami Valley, the leads in their school musicals, the leads in community or Muse Machine, section leaders for their school’s band or choir programs, field commanders, OMEA band/choir state or district section leaders, and numerous other achievements.
There is absolutely NO need to complain or whine about anything. Yes, there are exceptions…. Every student in the studio is accomplishing something and moving ahead not only in technique and musicianship but in advancements and successes in their ensembles or other endeavors.
I will no longer allow the oft-used negative expressions to be used in the studio:
- “I’m tired”
- Keep in mind: you chose to do what you do.
- Stop complaining. We all get tired.
- Yes, you are busy, out later, working hard; stop being self-centered and dramatic.
- Being tired is often part of the process to success.
- Sometimes poor time management is a reason for fatigue.
- You will be tired the rest of your life. Get used to it.
- Plus, the more you think about being tired, the more tired you will become.
- Yes, you may be genuinely tired; how you approach it is a choice.
- “I’m so busy”
- Keep in mind: you chose to do what you do.
- If you want to succeed you will probably be busy. Again, get used to it.
- And, again, time management could be a factor.
- If you are going to make claims about how busy you are then doing so with gratitude will set you a bit further ahead.
- There are tons of students who return home from school each day with absolutely nothing to do; maybe there are home conditions that prevent students from participating, or the student is far too anxious or depressed. There are students your age who would love to have an ounce of your busy life. Be grateful you are living and pursuing your dreams.
- How you elect to be busy and use it is a choice.
- “I can’t get this” Nope. It’s a choice.
- “This music is too hard” Nope. It’s a choice.
- “I’m not as good as…” Nope. There are other indicators, yes, but there’s still a choice.
- “I’m an underclassman so I…” Nope. LOL! Ask the many previous underclassmen who didn’t use this language who were on top of their game all four years of high school, or three years of middle school. Your approach to this is a choice.
- “I’m sick so I can’t…. (do anything)” Perhaps. Let’s say you have a cold or a sore throat: there’s still more to do beyond singing; we can work on diction, other non-throat-involved techniques like breath/air control, rhythms, studying other performers, etc. How you use your time to prepare or work with me during sickness is a choice.
- And any other negative phrase. Nope.
Seniors get a slight pass on this. I’ve discovered my seniors are the ones who tend to complain the least about being tired or busy. They either get it, or they’re simply too tired or too busy to complain.
Starting now, I am challenging students to cease their complaining and whining. All negativity (and yes, whining about being tired or busy is negativity) is to be left on the front porch.
I am challenging and expecting students to apply a different strategy to their Attitude.
at·ti·tude ˈadəˌt(y)o͞od noun
- a chosen settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior.
- a position or a choice assumed for a specific purpose
- a mental position or choice with regard to a fact or state
- a feeling or emotion, each of which can be a choice, toward a fact or state
- Attitude is a choice
Attitude has received a negative reception over the years and is seldom used for its original intent. “They have a bad attitude” has become the norm. Somewhere in the 1980s or 1990s the phrase, “Lose the tude, Dude” was popular. Yes, it was cute and catchy, but the studio does not recognize Attitude under that definition.
My students already know how I define Attitude as the steering wheel for each of our journeys. You don’t need your learner’s permit or driver’s license to steer this ship!
This newly adopted mindset of not complaining will be difficult for some. I already know which students will probably struggle with this application.
For some, it will be continued reinforcement.
And, for others, it will be an exciting new chapter leading to new chapters or journies.
And never forget that “making it a great day” is a choice, too.