“A single conversation across the table with a wise man is better than ten years mere study of books.” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I’ve written quite a few times here about my conversations with choral friends, most of whom I’ve known for decades. Some of them have shared conversations with me they’ve had with their choral friends, and I’ve written about those friends too.
My friends are talented and experienced and more importantly, they know the score. More than once, we’ve taken the same course or gone to the same conference. While we learn so much by attending, it’s after and our conversations together, when the real learning takes place. It’s more than mere networking, though that’s important too, but sharing expertise and experience with each other so we are fully able to digest and retain the material presented.
Sometimes, we go out to lunch during a conference and have a conversation about what we have just experienced. A few times we’ve had coffee before and divide up the sessions. We may have bought the videos (or now, the streaming links) but talking with someone actually in the room makes a difference. My friends may not be able to go, if but I am able, we might have a discussion after they’ve had a chance to watch the video.
Questions during the sessions are helpful but what’s really helpful is talking through the material AND the questions that were asked. Another view, another point noted can help the material be retained for use in our own situations.
One of my first experiences of “Talking it Through” occurred about twenty years ago, when I attended a church music conference. I had just met Wendy* and she and I immediately hit it off when seated together for morning choir practice. Later, we each took different courses but ran into each other again at lunch time and ate together. Having about 30 minutes before the next sessions began, we took a walk around the college campus. The choir director we were singing under was something of a big deal, and we talked about some of the techniques he used. I pointed out things I noticed, and she pointed out things she did. It was a lovely experience to share rehearsal ideas with someone else and we made it a habit for the two-week conference. We both felt we got more out of those rehearsals by talking them through with each other.
If you are able to attend a conference this summer, try to talk it through with those you meet. Networking is great but Study Buddies are WONDERFUL!
This will be my last completely new material Choral Ethics Blog post until September. We’ll have a guest blogger a time or two as well as some oldies, but goodies and I might write something when I’m on a long-looked-forward-to “real vacation.” I need to slow down as much as anyone else and plotting out the rest of the summer now seems like a smart idea. I try to be here, one way or another, every week because I know many of you look forward to this blog and I don’t want to disappoint you.
Have a GREAT SUMMER!