Elevator Pitch

Here is my elevator pitch for the First-Year Arts Community Experience course at Southern Methodist University.

My Toolbox

wood_hammer_tools_1920x1200_wallpaper_Art HD Wallpaper_1024x768_www.wallpaperhi.com

The following are characteristics are associated with an entrepreneur and also with an artist:

  • Imaginative
  • Skillful
  • Flexible
  • Adaptable
  • Collaborative
  • Connected
  • Communicator
  • Savvy
  • Fundraiser
  • Dedicated

I am able to identify that I have the ability to be imaginative, flexible, adaptable, collaborative, communicative, savvy, and dedicated.

Being skillful is a quality that I believe I do not have, but through rigorous coursework and training in the field of music and academia, I will gain the competence and excellence as a student.

“Every day is an audition,” my high school theatre director would say. This meant that your behavior, your attitude, your work ethic, and your decisions were always observed so as to determine how you were placed in a role in a show or a [leadership] position in a crew. With this concept, I understand that the relationships with my peers and authority stem from my personality and choices. Being connected to the right people matter, but maintaining a professional and likable persona is even more crucial for networking purposes. I love how music educators seem to know everyone, and I think this is because they praise one another for their talents and feats, creating an enjoyable environment to be a part of. Being connected is a skill that I may not have now but will come to have if I maintain a positive attitude and sociable behavior.

I do not identify myself as a fundraise just yet because the opportunity to raise money for a cause has not introduced itself; however, I do see how it is a skill needed in the future as a choral director. Extracurricular activities such as competitions and concerts do require funds to run, so I may consider completing an Art Entrepreneurship or Arts Management course or minor.

One trait that is important to have, especially as a teacher of the arts, is patience. Results will not be immediate. Pieces will take weeks to learn and training a voice will take months and certainly years to improve, so patience is key to have a teacher and now as a music student.

Are there any other skills a music educator and/or a musician in general must have? What are skills do you possess, and how do they help you? What skills do you wish you had, and how can you obtain them?

Note:  The image used was found through Google Images.

Ambition

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Just as Dan Pink explained in Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, I too do not think highly of monetary motivation. Of course there is the need to earn bread on the table as an artist, but at what cost?

Pursuing a career outside of the arts is perfectly fine to whomever chooses that path; however, what are their motivations? When the average artist wakes up for the day their inspirational thoughts may not include, “Good morning, world! I know I’m going to be making an outstanding salary today!” in comparison to an accountant. That is not to say all non-artistic professions are associated with this belief. Quite frankly, what drives you can be numerous factors pertaining to monetary aspirations, emotional satisfaction, authoritative approval, etc. Artists just tend to set aside their desire for a lavish lifestyle in order to make room for one in which their hunger for fulfillment is met.

My ambition has its roots in satisfying my desire to learn how to better my approach in life. Whether it be learning, performing, or teaching, I must do anything possible to perceive life in a positive light. Respect, patience, kindness, and integrity are characteristics that I believe I have but must always be improving to truly receive the most out of life.

Note:  The image used was found through Google Images.

My Moral Compass

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For the past twelve years, I have been a student, and as a student, grades have been my number one priority. Maintaining excellent grades has its roots in the values of an individual. In order to earn a 4.0 GPA, you must persevere through the difficulties and challenges your tasks may ask of you, you must respect yourself and your peers to accomplish a task that was of your work and your work alone, and above all, you must believe that achieving success in such monotonous responsibilities will inevitably help you succeed in your future endeavors in your career.

But that can’t possibly mean that your grades are your life, right?

To my disadvantage, I have been an over people-pleaser. I seek for the approval of others in the form of words and actions, and when others are not satisfied in my work (i.e. grades, extracurricular accomplishments), I pull strings and my mental muscles to great lengths to win their affection back. While this is a quality that can be overly strenuous to my health, the value that is the foundation to this is simply respect.

I believe in the idea that you must respect yourself before you can reciprocate respect onto others. In a collaborative effort, I know I am capable of accomplishing all of my responsibilities, so I expect others to accomplish theirs out of respect for themselves and of the group. This can be exemplified in the work place, school projects, musical rehearsals, etc. To me, respect is the basis of all of my morals, and by respecting myself and others, I have the ability to create an environment where I can rise up to my full potential.

Note:  The image used was found through Google Images.

Self-Efficacy

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I don’t believe in the “magic” of coffee.

That isn’t to say that I awake each morning with the windows open, the birds chirping, and my voice echoing their tune, but I do not need caffeine to jump start my day. I believe it’s your mindset that gets you going. If you think you’re going to have a bad day, chances are you will only focus on the negative circumstances that happen upon you.

With that said, being an optimist has its advantages. Pursuing goals with your eyes on the outcomes and knowing you have the power to reach them propels you so much farther than you would think. As a singer, I am constantly wanting and needing to improve my repertoire. I am currently transitioning from singing mezzo to soprano, and let me tell you, I certainly have to remind myself that singing a piece in a higher tessitura than I am use to is a feat I must overcome. Constant repetition and practice is what every musician needs; however, I have learned that giving myself breaks and time to delve into something completely different is beneficial to my sanity and ability to learn.

When it comes to academics, I apply the same tactics. Reviewing one course to another is the best way for my mind to stay engaged. As mentioned in the excerpt from What the Best College Students Do by Ken Bain, testing yourself is a more effective learning technique than simply reviewing. Do I really know this formula or am I just prone to mindlessly copy all its numbers and variables? Have I memorized these lyrics and also its meaning in the context of this piece? I have found that studying the subject in which I have the most difficulty in is a much better use of my time than reviewing material that comes easy.

Needless to stay, I am an ever-growing student. I may find study and rehearsal techniques that I now use may not be sufficient in the coming weeks. Moreover, I must not get discouraged when something goes awry. Things happen and things change. Starting college is a major transition, both in my environment and learning, and with a positive outlook, I cannot wait to see all that I can accomplish.

Note:  The image used was found through Google Images.

A Reflection

Dancers-Among-Us-Stone-Street-Michelle-Joy

In this photograph, Jordan Matter, a New York Times Bestselling Photographer and Author, traveled across America capturing dancers “celebrating everyday life.” The dancers are creatively and spontaneously placed amid ordinary surroundings and ordinary citizens to illustrate those who have lost their brilliance as an innovative child and become lackluster “with cynicism, boredom, and indifference.” Ever since seeing this collection titled “Dancers Among Us,” I really saw the visual and performing arts in a new light.

For one reason or another, I have wanted to become a music educator. One reason? “It’s the only occupation I think I would be remotely good at.” Until recently have I thought that pursuing a degree in music was something more extraordinary compared to pursuing another career entirely. Somewhere off in the distant future, I want to teach students how to read and sing music. The students who would take my choir class would range from students who really had a passion for learning and improving their musical capabilities to those who only took the class because of a fine arts requirement. While among the students with the latter attitude in choir, I gradually saw their small inclination toward choir grow into an actual love and enjoyment for the music in their surrounding environment. Observing that intellectual, social, and emotional growth in those particular students motivated me to not only want to teach students how to read and sing music but to actually want to yearn for that feeling of creating something, creating music.

The fine arts, I believe, really inspires people to physically create happiness in their lives. Of course pursuing an accounting career could bring utter and complete jubilation to an individual (to each his own), but the fine arts brings much more than numbers and theories to life. With the visual and performing arts, anything is at the domain of the artist, and I have yet to truly master creating the extraordinary from the ordinary.

Note:  This image belongs to Jordan Matter.