Jason Reed’s Post:
Reading response from chapters 5 through 8 of The Art of Possibility, by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander.
I first have to say that every time I pick up and read this book, it relates to things that are happening in my life. Chapter 5 discusses how to lead from any chair, and more specifically it refers to experiences being a conductor. It talks about the power that an orchestral conductor has in the music world and how conductors can often be dominating. I can attest that these traits can still be seen today because of the many conductors that I know or have worked with.
I direct 6 different choirs at the middle school level and never really gave much thought as to how my students view me. I often do what I need to do to get the results that are needed. After reflecting on my teaching and classroom management I realized that what makes my teaching so effective is that I build a family environment. Everyone feels safe in the classroom and I often encourage student ideas, which gives them a sense of ownership.
I really enjoyed reading about the effectiveness of the “white sheets” where students can write down their criticisms and observations during rehearsals. I am going to start trying to use this in my rehearsals to see what my students are thinking and find out how I can better serve their needs. It will also be a great way to have more personal feedback about my teaching and conducting.
The other chapters (6-8) had many great ideas as well to offer. Chapter 6 talks about the Rule Number 6, which basically means to lighten up. I find that I already do this in my classroom by adding humor to my lessons. I often use humor to effectively get my points across rather then coming off demanding and authoritative. I have found better success in the over all sound of my choirs by lightening up and this principle is one that everyone should follow.
Chapter 7 talks about the practice of the way things are. This chapter discusses how we should accept reality the way it is and work with reality to created more positive experiences. There are some things that we cannot change and it is our goal to be happy and positive. There are always positive ways to look at every situation and it is important for us to focus on the positivity to ensure our own happiness and the happiness of others around us.
Chapter 8 discusses the practice of giving way to passion. This was another chapter that really spoke to me. Most people view me as a passionate individual who is driven for success. I often use my passion for helping others and success to inspire and motivate myself. Sometimes I do set up barriers on myself and releasing these barriers is something that I need to first work on. I found that this chapter was more about channeling ones energy to help convert passion into action. This practice is not an easy thing to accomplish however once we can tap into our inner passion and drive we can accomplish anything.
I wanted to comment on yours because of the passion I know you have for your endeavors. I am glad that you spoke of passion. I would believe that your passion is also what drives your classroom management. Your students assessed you the first time they were with you. Think of the times you were in a class or even a workshop/seminar session. You assessed the presenter and immediately decided if this was going to be a valuable experience. I am sure your students saw that fire inside of you and were drawn towards it like the little moths they are. They want to be there and they want to share in the experience. Congratulations!