“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” Henry Ford
A few weeks ago, I ran into a young friend and colleague in the grocery store. Both of us were pressed for time but wanted to catch up. He mentioned he would email me since he didn’t think I would want to text. I asked him why and he floundered a bit. Finally, he admitted his mother, who he guessed was about my age, didn’t like to text so assumed I wouldn’t either. Hmmmmm.
I explained I certainly do text; sometimes it’s the only way I am able to keep in touch with people I love. I try to make it easy, especially for my kids, so I text. My spouse and I text each other throughout the day because our life together is complicated; we have a special needs child. One of my brothers will only text—no emails or phone calls for him. And my kids are often so busy, the only way I can keep up with them, or they with me, is by texting. My young friend put my number in his phone and that was that. We’ve now caught up, via text, and look forward to using this tool to regularly reach out to each other more often.
Texting, as well as various social media outlets, are new tools in our choral toolbox. I may not always be a first adapter, but I use new technology if it makes sense, and is practical, for my own situation. While I would love to use IPads for my choir, it would be cost prohibitive for my community chamber choir of adults. Websites and email are tools as well, perhaps not shiny and new anymore, but still useful. I love YouTube and Sound Cloud and Spotify and ITunes. Digital sheet music is wonderful, especially if you want to purchase only ONE piece from a choral collection. Purchasing 18 copies, then printing them up at my leisure, is cost effective and convenient.
There are things I do Old School with no apologies. I write out my rehearsal plans—long hand—on a legal pad in a colorful leather portfolio with my favorite brand of pen. I tried to print them up or send them to myself as an email to access on my phone or put them in Google Docs but it wasn’t the same. I need to write them out; it’s something about the tactile task of physically writing which helps me process the plan in my mind.
While I love my Kindle when I read for pleasure, I prefer owning physical books in my professional life. I can look up something, it seems, much easier than in a digital format. It is also so satisfying to spread out books on my desk and do research. Anything that helps me be a better director and conductor is what I will do, old school or new, in my quest to be as good as I can be.
Having a regular Blog here on ChoralNet is a bit New School. Did you know Choral Potpourri/Choral Ethics became a regular featured Blog here on ChoralNet in the Fall of 2015? Choral Potpourri/ Choral Ethics tries to present completely new content every single week—that’s 52 weeks a year. Except for a short time during the summer when we run repeats of favorite Blogs of ChoralNetters, it’s not available anywhere else.
I keep thinking I’ll create a Choral Ethics Facebook page or maybe do a regular Podcast one of these days. I would be willing to be a guest on someone else’s Choral Podcast but perhaps I’m a little too Old School. Choral Ethics may not be as sexy as topics such as “Choral Philosophy” or “The Five Reasons Choral Programs Fail” but it is vitally important to our profession. Choral Ethics may be Old School but haven’t you heard; Everything Old is New Again!