Blog Post

Reflections on the Teacher Workshop: “The Magic Wand is Optional”

As storybooks often question their readers – do you believe in magic?

The stained glass windows of the church and the dappled light they send into the sanctuary are the first clues I am able to spot on the fine morning of the Teacher Workshop. Of course, there had been many other, smaller hints of the incredible day to come — the bright sun and crisp air, all the teachers present, and me, sitting close to the front and quiet with awe, notebook and pencil already in hand as the workshop begins.

On February 8th, Cantiamo hosted a workshop for local teachers and our choir director invited Cantiamo girls to participate in the full workshop along side the teachers. For those of us considering a career in music education, this was a wonderful gift.

Looking around the room at the teachers present is like seeing a small glimpse into the future, through my own personal looking glass. I can’t help but think of all the children who benefit from the efforts these incredible teachers put into their work. There’s a small moment of indulgence when I picture all of their students as happy and accomplished individuals, citing music as the source of their confidence. I smile as I make eye contact with someone across from me.

Being a student at an event like this has always given me a sense of comfort and duty. My future plans are not only encouraged, but solidified. Here I can go well beyond a simple affirmation for my musical future, and get real, useful information when facing challenges with this sort of career. Though they may not be instantly applicable to my life, learning how to handle things such as vocal warm-ups with rowdy school children gives me a gentle reality check. I’m grateful to be surrounded by people who have followed what they believed in and haven’t given up; I feel like it is a silent argument towards all those who tell me that “music is no future to have.”

It is also rewarding to be a part of this workshop as a chorister myself. Being called upon to demonstrate techniques and pieces is a small, rare, and important moment of pride. For a moment, we, Cantiamo Girls, become teachers, effortlessly proving what a good music education can do for an individual.

Going up to actually conduct the choir is the most difficult part to accurately describe, and definitely not for lack of trying. It is only then that I realize how much I tend to slouch and back away from things. Being forced to stand tall in front of all those people – my friends as well as my partners in song – is the last clue I needed on that fine day.

No, I am not saying I finally learned to believe in magic. Instead, I finally learned to believe in myself, and the power I have to make music. But then again, what’s the difference?

– by Andra, Cantiamo chorister


Photo credits: Julie Gourley