I have been working as a Program Coordinator at a community music school in Bethesda, Maryland for a little over 5 months now. I am immersed in a working environment that is devoted to educating musicians of all ages and skill levels. As people walk by my work station everyday, I get to see and hear people discovering the many benefits that a music education can add to your life.
At the school, our admin staff is not hiding in the back offices. We are upfront working on programs and projects while simultaneously helping our students, parents, and teachers. You definitely need to be a master multi-tasker to handle this job.
We are currently in the middle of our "busy season". In June, the school presents at least 40 recitals and also conducts evaluations (also know as juries) where students can volunteer to perform for a judge based on their level. It is also the end of the school year and we are constantly working with families and teachers to figure out their summer schedules and what are the best options for them.
We spend hours talking to families, managing schedules, designing programs, folding programs, nudging teachers for information, writing certificates, entering attendance, and so much more. It is our job to make sure that everything runs smooth and seamless. Sometimes I come home tired from a long day and forget why this type of work is so important to me. In the past few days though, I noticed a few things that made me smile and remember why I chose to pursue arts management.
The first was during one of our recitals this past weekend. One of our vocal students was performing and she seemed a little nervous. Her performance started off reserved and shy but she gained confidence during the performance and finished strong. What truly made me smile though was her mother. She stood and smiled during the entire performance while recording her daughter singing. She looked so proud and hugged her daughter tightly after she performed.
The second was today at work when two young piano students received their medals and certificates from their teacher for passing their evaluations. They were both genuinely excited to see a positive result from their work during and outside of their lessons. One of the boys came up to me wearing his medal proudly around his neck and said "Look at me!!!". Again, I could not help but smile.
Small moments like these remind me that music performance and education should be an important part of our local and national community. Yes, there are studies that say music can raise your IQ and help with language development but it also teaches students how to concentrate, work hard, work with others, be empathetic, listen, and express themselves. This is why I work in this industry and why I believe music and the performing arts are so important.