Fresh Ears

It is rare for me to have a guest clinician to work with my choir. Because we only meet once a week, we always seem to be hurrying to get ready for the next concert. Plus, I’m self-conscious about my own conducting skills, a feeling only enhanced when I bring in an expert colleague.

This Monday, though, I asked a wonderful conductor and friend to come in and spend some time with the Aces. Because we have a premiere coming in a month, I felt they could use her fresh ears to enhance their music-making.

Boy, did it ever.

Shirley Lemon shook them loose from their comfort zone, took them to new heights, and laid out an agenda for them. She said things in different ways than I do, or simply reiterated concepts so that my students finally heard.

Having the right guest work with your students is an inspiration, a challenge, and a treat. I cannot strongly enough urge you (and myself) to step out of the comfort zone and let a colleague into your rehearsal.

Shirley ended her time with the Aces saying something powerful. “You have the potential to be extraordinary; don’t choose to be ordinary. I have bad news: we live in an ordinary world. But in this group, I hope you never settle for ordinary.”

Words for all of us.