Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Band Concerts and Tipping Points - How Great is Our God

This morning I woke up at 4:30 and couldn't sleep. I do that sometimes when there is a lot on my mind. Today just happens to be the morning after my band's Winter Concert. (I wish we could call it a "Christmas" Concert, but that's another blog.) You would think that I would have gotten a lot off my mind and could rest, but that is not the case.

So, I think to myself (while lying in bed) that I have options here:
1. I could just lie here and think about upcoming events (and how I'm going to deal with them as well) along with other random thoughts that creep in (again, another blog).
2. I could go running in 28 degree weather to run off some energy (how stupid would that be).
3. OR.... I could blog.....

Our concert was really a great success and that is saying a lot considering all that we go through to put it together.

Disclaimer: I don't normally write about school in my blog because that can get me in trouble if I say the wrong thing. But this is a good thing and what is truly on my mind, so here goes....

You see, we have a particular schedule at our school that does not allow for my 7th and 8th grade band students to have a class together during the day. This schedule works well for academic classes and allows teachers to plan together for better student success. I agree with that. It just makes it difficult to keep the band as a whole (and all fine arts) performing at the same high standards as other schools. So we have to hold a Rehearsal every Tuesday Afternoon for an hour so they get time to practice with each other, challenge each other among their sections and just generally mingle with each other (to create an atmosphere of kinship that leads to high school band in the future). Holding these rehearsals is quite a challenge with all of the events that students are involved in at school (especially intelligent and well rounded band students). But many of our students this year have done a really good job of getting to rehearsal each Tuesday. It is also becoming evident that many of our students are choosing to become musicians and focus on band as opposed to athletics ... or just nothing (as is often the case). We are moving toward a "Tipping Point" in our band program.

Malcolm Gladwell describes a moment when some thing or idea becomes popular and well known seemingly over night or all at once. This moment he calls the "Tipping Point". When I read his book it was interesting to see how I have been running band programs in a certain way as to obtain this point when band becomes a really popular and important part of the school environment. Gladwell notes that change happens slowly over time but will climax at a certain unpredictable moment when, without realizing it, people just have to be a part of some thing because it is cool to do so. (He relates it much like a Sickness Epidemic moves across a people group or how a certain shoe becomes popular to wear).

I would take it one step further and realize that this unpredictable moment is ultimately controlled by a Sovereign God who is in control of the whole universe. This relates to me in that He loves His children and wants what is best for me. He has given me talents and intelligence to understand how things work and how I should go about each day to Glorify Him in every decision and action that I make. In learning about "Tipping Points" I learn that Malcolm Gladwell has again proven that we serve a Mysterious God that reveals Himself in a myriad of ways. Some may say that the changes that occur in this process are a result of man having grand ideas and the patience to work the problem out. I say, who gave man those ideas and that patience. I know I don't think of a lot of brilliant things on my own but rather get most of them from the truths found in Scripture as I read them from the Bible. And the patience thing is still working on me after 12 years of teaching band.

No... any success that we have in our band program (like our Concert last night) is because God blessed the efforts and rose up within our students the ability to perform well under pressure. They don't get to practice the music with all of the parts together except every once in a while, yet they performed last night as if they had worked each day as a unit together. That is a blessing from God that I cannot make happen on my own.

How Great is Our God



  1. Very cool. I'm glad that you finally feel like your work over the last couple of years has started to change the culture.

  2. Wow. My husband - the blogger. I didn't know you were so good!