I am disappointed in myself. It was my intention to write at least every week. I see, however, that it has been over a month since I have posted any thought. I have been thinking about what I had to say, but thinking and doing, of course, are two very different things. It reminds me of 'The Music Man" in which the Professor teaches music using the 'Think Method". If you haven't seen the film (really?) a scam artist convinces a town that he can teach their children how to play band instruments just by thinking about playing them. We find this humorous and ridiculous; one cannot take a short cut to learning anything skillful and worthwhile. Yet, truth be told, we find ourselves chasing short cuts, hoping to find the quickest way to accomplish a goal or fulfill a dream.
This is probably the reason I cannot watch the hugely popular TV show, "American Idol". Sure, some of the contestants are skilled and have worked with determination to hone their craft, studied, and have kept their sights towards their goals. I believe, however, that a greater majority think they have something marketable and expect they deserve to have it all handed to them. It's an unfortunate representation of society today. There are instances where talent truly "is discovered" and it is a wonderful happenstance when it occurs. More often that not, though, we want the big prize for little or no effort.
As choralists, we find ourselves surrounded by multiple levels of talent and skill, all with different goals in mind. Some are there simply for the pleasure of music, and don't expect to have to work or study very much. Some may view their participation as a stepping stone to something else; individual successes or networking for more prestigious roles. Some are completely involved in the task at hand, and are concerned with what they can learn and contribute right where they are. This is the group to which all others should aspire. To accept the job of being a choralist means commitment and work. To the director, this is the path to a better and more accomplished choir. To the choralist, this is the path to a better and more accomplished individual. What could one discover about oneself while taking the talent of music to new levels by rehearsing, studying, working, reaching, and committing to being the best possible? It is within our grasp, but is it within us to reach for it? Like in the children's story "The Little Engine that Could", I say, "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can...."