Before I manage to allow any other thoughts to enter my mind that might convince me otherwise, I need to mark this moment here to say I finally feel ready. I announced it already on my website, but I am having a 30-minute parent meeting this Saturday to say that we are headed in different directions starting next trimester. I am actually going to “go public” with the piece of this journey that is about my musical blossoming and growth. I am going to share my excitement that I have actually rediscovered my excitement about music. I am going to reveal the ideas I have for sharing that with my students, which will require some structural changes in the school. The same structural changes that I knew in my gut were necessary last summer, which led to some small changes this year already. But now I have a whole new agenda. I’m “burning up” the repertoire list that has chained me for the past five years. We’re boiling it down to elements. We’re going to learn techniques and vocabulary that serve us as musicians, but skills that serve us as people in the world. We will give concerts that share our process and our art with audiences who care to learn about us more deeply, rather than merely receive free entertainment. We are not a show. We are a group of people dedicated to lifelong learning – seeing what that’s REALLY about – and music appreciation. We learn to listen. We learn to practice. We learn to collaborate. We learn to IMPROVISE and CREATE.

We’ve outgrown the pageantry and mass production of standing in unison with hundreds of others on a big stage in Chicago. It’s not that it didn’t serve its purpose. It did. It trained us magnificently in our listening, our preparation, our respect for the power of music. But now we move forward with delight, curiosity, and wonder. We are willing to do something for the first time, to face our fear, and to DO THE THING WE THINK WE CANNOT DO. Because, as Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You gain strength, courage and confidence every time you really stop and look fear in the face.”

We’re doing that now. And I’m taking them there, starting now. Woo ah.