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CJ Replay: Relationships and the Choral Conductor

(An excerpt from the Choral Journal article, “Prickly Puzzles and Daunting Dilemmas: Facing Fate, Fear, and Family, Part 2,” by Suzanne M. Pence.)
       Single is easier and far less complicated when starting a career. Your time is your own, and there are fewer distractions on developing a choral program. However, relationships are a beautiful part of life and need not be neglected due to a demanding career. The following is offered as food for thought regarding relationship and career:
       First, relationships must be healthy. Whether single or married, the manner in which one cultivates and nurture relationships will determine much of lifelong happiness. Healthy relationships include the following building blocks: support and understanding, open and honestcommunication, ordering combined goals, budgeting time based on priorities, taking care of yourself and each other, and surrounding oneself with positive people. Several of these items deserve additional comment.
       Priorities. This task must evolve from a balance between career goals, partner's career goals, and life goals as partners. When goals have been discussed in all areas of life together, one will be more able to formulate a realistic timeline in which these goals may be achieved. Decisions about children, changing jobs, going back to school, etc., can be made with far less stress if discussed before these issues arise. Goals and priorities may change throughout life together, but the key is honest communication and support through these changes.
on December 12, 2013 7:39am
So true.Looking back on a  40 year career as a high school choral director, I know that the career would not have been possible without the support and understanding of my wife (also a musician). There were many evening and weekend rehearsals when I was not home to help with our growing family. Also, as my children matured, my attitudes became more compassionate toward my students. My eyes were opened and I was not as hard nosed, while still maintaining standards. I was then supportive of my wife when she decided to pursue her master's degree and I became the children's care-giver (they were older and more self reliant by then).
Another important relationship is the adminstrative and faculty relationships (don't forget the secretaries and the custodians, too) you develop in your school. Getting to know the faculty outside your department makes for a supportive atmosphere that permits collegial actions when you need that last minute rehearsal! Now that I am retired, I still consder many of the faculty outside the music dept. as my friends, and we try to get together for lunch once per month.