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About ‘Read the Episode’: Sometimes we would rather skim visually instead of listening to a podcast! That’s a great way to learn too! The transcript to episode 013 of The Crescendo Music Education Podcast is below.

Episode 013 Transcript


Here is the Crescendo Music Education Podcast, Episode #13. Welcome to the second part of my chat with Paul Holley. In this one, you’ll get the second half of part two. In this one we’re going to talk about his nuggets of fabulous, which are wonderful. There’s four of them, I’d love to tell you, but I’m not. We will let you hear them in his own words and his advice around advocacy. An episode not to be missed, part two with Paul Holley.

All right, we are up to nuggets of fabulous. All right, so either as working with a choir, regular conductor, you work with large groups of kids, sometimes you just come in cold to literally hundreds of children, and you have to work with them, like you said, make some sort of connection, get some sort of instant respect. You have to work with you just you have to have fabulous repertoire, you have to be flexible, you know, you’ve got to be pretty much a magic person to do your job. Could you share with us some nuggets of fabulous, some little tricks, tips, ideas that you have up your sleeve? That help you.

Yeah, I must admit, one of the things I find the most challenging and rewarding is exactly what you just talked about walking into a group that you don’t know. And, and knowing that you’ve got a responsibility to make music with these people.

And whether that’s been invited in for a one hour rehearsal, or whether it’s to be there for a day or whether it’s you know, to be working with a group over three days or whatever the it’s the same, you don’t know these people necessarily before you walk in, and you’ve got whatever period of time it is to have to make some kind of impact on what they are on what they’re doing. I find that really rewarding. I find that challenging. That’s the challenge for me.

But you know, I guess there’s there’s some big picture things I guess, and It’s some nitty gritty things, I guess, as well, one of the things is, when you’re standing in front of a group, whether you know them, whether they’re your regular group, or whether it’s a one off or whatever, I think first and foremost, you have to enjoy the music and making it that’s the first step.

And unfortunately, I’ve seen some conductors who seem that doesn’t seem to be the case, right from the start the sentence straightaway, like the music, or they’re not, you know, they’re not into the music making, or whatever, you know, and there’s no enjoyment in that process. For me, that has to be the thing, that’s the thing that feeds me, I guess, is that I liked that. What is that being in the moment, do not mean and making the music.

And so that’s something for me, that has to work, I have to make it fun working with these people, I have to make it an enjoyable, fun that doesn’t mean that it’s a laugh a minute, but it has to be an enjoyable experience for everyone, myself included. I have done everything I can to be for it to be enjoyable, I have discovered that happy people will try things that will make the music better.

If they’re not happy to be there, they’re not gonna experiment with you, they’re not gonna be really that interested in making music with you. They actually have to be happy to be there, they have to feel some sense of enjoyment or fulfillment out of it, then they will try things that will make the music better make the music happen, things like don’t be rapped them, don’t tell them what they don’t know. Don’t tell them what they’re not doing. Right? Flip that and fix it by making them not even think about the negative.

I try to say things like instead of saying, you know, ‘in bar 13, can we all please read the right notes?’ You know, whatever it might be and then we’ll sing it and I’ll say something like, ‘Well, that was wonderful confidence, not exactly as the composer intended, but it was a fantastic sound that you were making, and you were really going for glory, we might just check what the composer wrote and see how close we can get to that’.

Now, that to me is two ways of saying the same thing. You know, you get a portrait with some humor, you approach it with a bit of light heartedness. Or you just say ‘the notes are wrong in bar 13, we’re going to do it again until you get it right’. Well, there’s no there’s no fun in that and that whether regardless of whether it’s acquire your work with all the time or not now the week before the concert, and it’s still like that, then yes, I’m not saying I don’t ever lose it with my choir because I do but, you know, I guess those kinds of things it’s to work out you have to work out how to express yourself, and how to be real in front of the groups.

Now the bizarre thing about that, for me is that people who watch me work with groups probably think that as a person, I’m quite an outgoing person when I’m not in front of a choir, but in actual fact, I’m not, that’s not me, as a person, I’m the kind of person who’s an observer, and the kind of person that probably would tick most of the boxes.

For an introvert, my idea of being in large groups of people is not what I do for fun. You know, those kinds of things, which some people who’ve watched me work, find very hard to believe. It’s interesting, because I think it’s because I know what my workplace is, and my workplace invariably, is I have to stand up in front of a bunch of people. And so I become what I need to be in my workplace, but it’s not necessarily what I am when I’m outside of the workplace.

Some people find that a little bit hard to understand, but you have to work out how to express yourself. I’m not saying that I’m not true to myself, I think my sense of humor is the same whether I’m standing in front of a group or whether I’m not, you know, it’s not something that I put up. But it is, but it is just a different way of working.

And so, you know, you have to be real, I guess, you have to work out what works for you. But you also have this kind of, I also do think you do have to put on you have to realize this is my work environment, and therefore I do what I do, what do I need to do in my work environment to get the best results, and sometimes that means I have to be a bit bigger than I would normally be as a person in order to get those results, you know? So I guess they’re all kind of big, big picture things, I guess, that’s when you, you know, but there’s such important things, because if you actually don’t have those things, then doesn’t matter what you try and do technically, or what you try and do musically, or what kind of phrase you try and make, I don’t think there’s going to be a good connection for you there with your choir.

There has to be that enjoyment, it has to be that sense of discovery, and people willing to go on a journey as opposed to people being I don’t know, for being trying to force people to do stuff. And you know, then on a technical level, I guess, hey, if you don’t know how your instrument works, learn how your instrument works, learn what it does learn how to use a voice, learn what it’s going to be like, from the point of view of an untrained singer, you know, how, how you gonna explain to them how their instrument works, when they have no idea because they can’t see any of it.

Don’t stop asking questions of yourself about the people watch what other people do, you know, you just got to, you’ve got to know that, you got to learn how it works, you’ve got to know the text we work with text has, you know, and a number of times I see characters who have no idea what they’re singing about, or it would seem conductors who have no idea what they’re singing about, either, because you can tell by the way that they’re singing something that they don’t really know what these words mean, you know, or whatever, you know, you’ve got to know those things.

And it seems really obvious. And yet, the number of times I hear things, where it’s not obvious at all, that anything has gone into the text, you know, gotta understand the styles of music that you’re doing. What does that mean? You know, how does that impact what you do, you know, you’ve got to know those kinds of things. And you’ve got to learn, you got to be willing to learn, you know, if you’ve got to do a piece of music.

If you find yourself in a position where you’re conducting something that Mozart wrote a couple 100 years ago, then you’ve got to learn a little bit about what Mozart did, you know, you got to listen to some other music of his or whatever, you know, in the same way, as you’ve got to do that for whatever type of music it is you’re doing, you know, and then I guess the thing that no, this is the really nitty gritty bit, I’m all about gesture, and I’m all about using my body to express what I want the music to say.

And so when it comes to the nuggets to take away, I guess it’s those, it’s those little things that you can do with gesture to help you communicate music, to communicate the music or communicate the text. It’s how you use your hands, it’s the things you get the choristers to do, and that you do yourself. So they are things like word stress, you know, and when you say word stress, and very obvious action for you to do is what I just did is you got to use your head and you move downwards movement. And you there’s a point of you know, all that kind of stuff.

So then there’s a release, well do that when you’re talking about where in our line of text, talk about where is the most important word in this line of text. And now use a gesture that’s going to take you to that point, and then bring you away from that point, and whether that’s your hand or whether it’s a knee bend or whatever, but do something that gives you that sense, you know, and then if you’re gonna approach high notes, and you want it to sound approach from below, and you want them to reach up for it, then do a gesture that’s going to show them that if you want to, if you want them to float over the top of a high note and have it sound much more beautiful, then do an action that’s gonna involve them floating some kind of floating action or something or other but use gesture importantly in three steps one, get the choristers to do it.

This is a really key thing when you’ve come up with a gesture and might just add as a little aside, the first gesture you come up not might not be the best one. And in fact, it might not work at all. So experiment experiment. If it doesn’t work, have another one up your sleeve just in case because sometimes you you might fix a problem but you’ve actually created a bigger one through the justice that you’ve done. So therefore, let’s get rid of that gesture. Let’s forget we even did that. And let’s try this instead. And so have a gesture that they do, right second point of the gesture thing is do it for them while they think. So the second part once they’ve done it a couple of times themselves, do it for them. And they just sing watching you do it right. Now, that’s the second thing.

Now, very importantly, for a conductor, the third thing is how are you going to show that in performance to them, where you don’t necessarily want, particularly if it’s a grand gesture, you don’t really want to be the one that’s going to do a very grand gesture and become a distraction to the music and a distraction to the audience. So what are you going to do in your gesture that will show them what that means, and how it’s related to the gesture that they did. So you’re not, it’s a three step process. And these are the kinds of little things once you’ve ingrained these in your choir, and they know these kinds of things you do, the amazing thing is, you then have something you can put in a different situation. You know, if I want my singers to float over the note, there’s a few different options of gesture that we use, and I do some spin bowling ones and all kinds of different things to get them to float over a high note.

Now the important part is that eventually they get they see this gesture that has this idea of coming over the top of a note when we go higher, or moving into this particular word. And there’s a particular gesture that we use, they get that and whatever the great part is, then I can mingle with another piece of music and use the same gesture. And they know exactly what it means because they’ve done it. They’ve seen it and they know what it looks like in my gesture. And I can do it in performance, when we’ve never have had this problem before, right?

But because of energy and because of enthusiasm and because of adrenaline, we’re all just going for glory on high notes and it’s not that great in performance. I’ve got these gestures that I can then use because they’ve done them. And we’ve built up a way of communicating that even in performance we can then do even if we’ve never done it before. And most of them follow that because they have learned how these things work.

So the thing that and so when I’m working with a group that I’m seeing, for the first time. I recently did a gig in Toowoomba where I was working with 300 primary school kids, I had them for two hours. They did a concert that night in the evening of 4 pieces…

4 pieces in two hours??

It was great! I had to go in, we’re just a bunch of things that I needed having heard it, things that I could possibly do, in order to try and make things work as best I could, whether it was balanced, whether it was approached to it, whether it was phrase length, whatever it was that I decided with the things I wanted to go after, I had to go in, I had to have some things and some gestures ready to go so that I could get them to do those things.

And that’s my way of being able to connect and get musical ideas through to them as quickly as possible is using gesture, I can talk about it. I could say, could you please sing again, from bar three to bar six and let’s not breathe after bar four this time, right? I could say that. And then I could move on to the next one and say the same thing again, or I could show them something that I want them to do while you’re singing, can you please do this? Let’s make it a good breath. Let’s go, you know, and whatever it is they’ve solved the problem.

Hopefully, on the first time we’ve solved the problem, I’ve then got a gesture that I can use with them. And I can communicate and even a matter of a few hours later, I can communicate those gestures. One of the things I find really interesting is the kid who can’t switch that often. And so I love working in workshops, where you’ve where you’ve taught the kids of certain things in order to get a particular way of creating something and then they can’t that to them actually becomes firmly entrenched in the action goes with that all the time.

And they barely can’t sing it without doing the action, which some conductors get really stressed about, I could not care less. If the kid is showing something that shows that they’re getting into what they’re doing, and I understand what they’re doing. And they have to do a physical action at the same time. No problem. As far as I’m concerned, that is perfectly fine. Because that’s what helps create those things. That’s made the connection for them, and they’re singing it detached or they’re singing it legato or they said whatever they by doing the action.

So you know, I think those for me, the key thing, you know, you can have all the gestures in the world. But if the people aren’t happy, if they don’t enjoy what they’re doing, they’re not gonna do them for me , they’re not gonna do them for you. They’re not gonna impact it’s not going to impact the sound of the music making. And so it’s going to get in your way. So can’t just do all of the bag of tricks without realizing that there’s big picture things that have to be happening here as well.

There has to be that connection and it has to be that enjoyment factor for people to be willing to try these other things and then hopefully I hear the difference in the music depending on the age of the person as to how quickly they might hear the difference and understand to me, I’ve discovered you can’t do one without the other, either it’s a bag of tricks is great to have but unless there’s buy in from them, and to get buy in there has to be an element of enjoyment or an element of willingness to do this, which means you have to have created an environment, which is free for them to do that.

I love that. That brings you back to your first nugget which was about happiness and engaging people so that they’re willing to do that, but also your second one, where you’re talking about how we really have to know how our instrument works. And that goes for classroom teachers, music teachers, too, especially using a vocal approach.

And text. I mean, I think text is the magic that choral musicians have. We have that over the instrumentalists, don’t we? We have techniques. So you obviously have to understand context. And like you’re saying know a bit about Mozart that goes if you’re a violin player, but we have a text on top of that, we really have to know what we’re singing about. If you’re singing something funny, or if you’re singing something deadly serious, It all affects sound, they have to know text.

And I love the way you were talking about gesture, it’s actually you’re creating a language that you use with your choir, it communicates so much so we build that up. They are certainly nuggets of fabulous. I’ve seen your work so I know that you do all these things but that was really great. Thank you for your nuggets. Now, I really like to get your take on advocacy now, and I know what you do helps a lot.

You know, our schools been recently involved in something that virally was doing Queensland in song that promoted in Queensland choral composers, and the work done in schools as well as community and I know what you do helps us to sell the importance of music education, because we really are having to fight for keeping music in our schools. What advice could you give listeners around advocacy?

Well, this probably follows up a little bit from what you just said about involvement in the festival. I think that one of the key things is to show people the value of what we do. Telling them about the value of what we do is very important as well, but tell them about it, if you can’t show them. If there’s actually an opportunity to show them the value of what we do, make sure you take that opportunity and look for ways of being able to advocate to all different kinds of people to the students themselves, to the parents, to the other teachers in your school environment, show them the value of what you do. So for me, what is it you want to show them?

Well, you want to show them the joy of music making, that’s something that you want to try and show and so actually involve them in doing it, make them do it, and see what a difference it makes. Our people that we’re working with don’t have to have an instrument, they don’t need to know how to play, right? So in a school, one of the things that I used to do when I was teaching at my school, it’s a bit of a risk to take, but was to make sure that everyone in the school had to sing at some point in time.

And so I used to do this a few different ways. I was at a school that had a school song and so every year when there was a new group of kids coming in, I would say to what I didn’t have to say every year, I only had to say to the principles of time, if we’re going to do the school song on assembly, wouldn’t it be good if I have a session with all of the grade sevens to make sure they all know the school song before the first assembly so that they don’t feel like they’re left behind? You know, principal thought, great idea. Fantastic. Give you some time to work with all the new year sevens so I did that. I taught all of the new year sevens, the school song and the school here made sure they knew how the national anthem went so that the first assembly where we did all three of those things, they would have some idea of what that was they were singing, right. So that was beneficial in itself.

However, the most beneficial thing was I had all the grade sevens in a room at once to teach them the school. And so in week one, they knew that there was an expectation that they were going to have to sing. So I had the time to teach them I had the time to engage with them. It was my 40 minutes of PR as well. You know, because I had to sell the product.

Now for me, the first choir rehearsal of the year for the year sevens was at seven o’clock the morning after I did with that session, whenever it was guys that say to them, so when you go home, tell your parents that you’ve got to be at school tomorrow morning. Seven o’clock for the first choir rehearsal of the year, because Mr. Holley said it’d be really good for them to get involved, etc, etc, you know, and so that would be the next thing.

So then the next morning I’d have these great sevens, not all of them, of course, but I’d have a bunch of grade sevens would turn up the next morning to be acquired because they’d had this experience that was fun, they’d learned some stuff. And the next morning they came in, they sang in choir again. So there was that I stood up on assembly, and I made the do some stuff.

I remember, I think my first year at Girls Gamma, I had the choir sing, it was only a fairly small choir and we sang it immediately. We did the song “Lean on Me” and the principal came to me the next day and said, Mr. Holley, next week on assembly, you’ll do “Lean on Me” with the whole school, with the choir and make the whole school sing. And I thought, ‘Oh, good, Lord, how am I going to do that? How am I going to get you know, 1000 girls to sing, ‘Lean on Me’ for a week?

I had a choir of 25 to 30 kids, you know, how am I gonna make this work?’ You know, and but anyway, I wasn’t in a position to say “No”, I said, you teach it to the school, I was in a position to dealt with principal, no, that might happen. So I have to get up and do it. Now straight away. That meant first of all, every kid in the school knew who I was, I was the new choir person at the school so there was that benefit. But it was said that I will have to sing.

The school had an inter house choir competition every year. Now choir competition, I use that term very loosely, right choir, it was 120 kids singing, it doesn’t have time, right? Generally through a pop song with a backing track or whatever but you know what the key thing was, every kid in the school had to be involved in house choir. The school decided that they would use roll call for two weeks to to give the kids time to practice every morning for for 10 days or two weeks, and then the whole school would come and for two lessons be involved in the house choir competition was fantastic for showing in the school that there was that this was a singing culture, right that we everyone had to sing it was an expectation.

The other thing so that that kind of was great for winning over the kids. The other thing was at the first concert that new parents came to, they all had to sing, I made sure that there was a song that the choir had done, that the parents could learn the chorus of and join it. So suddenly, all of these parents, new parents to the school went away, having just come to their welcome to Music night, and they had all sung as well, they’d seen their daughter up there singing, they’d have to get involved in the process themselves.

Now, there was a bunch of parents, there’s one who I’ve just met up with recently, who could still sing for me to could still tell me his daughter was asked at Girls Grammar in my first or second year there, he could still tell me that see, a humbug was the song that I taught the parents at that welcome night. He remembered that all of these years later that that was the song that made him get up and sing. And he keeps your mind whenever I run into he reminds me, you know, I just think what an amazing thing that that person has become.

Now these parents then largely became advocates for what we did in the music department. Because they’d had a direct involvement right from day one, and looking for ways to show people this, whether it’s other stuff, I had an amazing experience, what I thought was an amazing experience. When we were doing these in the house choir rehearsals every morning, I had a physics teacher say to me that it was amazing the difference in their class in period one, that they noticed, when the kids had come straight from singing together for 20 minutes, and then came straight to their class, they said the mood in the room. And the focus in the room was different. When they came from 20 minutes of singing than when they normally came for roll call. Because they’d been involved in something where they were singing, they were doing something together, they were part of, you know, blah, blah.

All of these things that we know, choral singing is music making is which are dynamic things 14 building and all that kind of stuff, as well as mental health benefits, as well as just all the endorphins that get going when we’re seeing and all of those things that we know that they recognized it as being a change in mood in their classroom, and how the kids came into class and how the kids worked in class, you know, so there was advocacy, through showing them, I could stand up at a staff meeting and tell them about the values of music, education, and all of those kinds of things but I could actually make them do it instead.

And I’d experience it without necessarily realizing so I think for us getting them to do that I and try and get if I have almost every barely concert, we have parents, audience participation and just about every concert, I make them sing something along with the kids, you know, because they’re watching their kids having a great time doing yourself. Because you the parents, for me really are my greatest advocates. They are my best advertisement for Birralee more people coming to Birralee is them saying how much their kid gets out of it and that’s what they should do you know so.

So I am a firm believer in knowing this the science behind what we do firm believer in knowing the benefits and the health benefits and we should definitely talk about those things. And we should definitely do those kinds of things, but we should take every opportunity and create opportunities to actually show how valuable what we do is and to those people then at various levels who make the decisions, you know, and show them what happens and actually involve them in what happens so that they can have that sense themselves and say, See, that’s what it is, that does tell you after doing this, for you know how you felt after 10 minutes of doing that, you know, what that did for you, you know, the laughing you did, while you did that, that’s what these kids are getting the opportunity to do, every time they walk into a rehearsal, or walk into a music classroom, or whatever, they’re getting that opportunity to have that same reaction, and that same physical and mental reaction that you had for doing it for five minutes, you know, they’re important things.

I think, for that from I’m a big advocate, you know, for showing, then the other thing, I guess, too, is that we have to value it ourselves, we have to support others, we have to make a commitment to supporting other people, as well, we have to make a commitment to supporting our other music teachers, we need to make a commitment to supporting our other conductors, we need to make a commitment to the value that we place in what the kids do, as well, you know, we talked before about recognizing the value of our students as people, you know, and not just as students, because we’re educating the person, not just teaching about the subject, to know that, you know, value that value these things, value these people and support others make a commitment to.

Maybe that’s one of the things, you know, that I’ve I’ve tried to do in this last couple of years, you know, when we’re where it’s been tougher, is to actually make a commitment to go and see some more shows, to, to actually make the time even when I feel like I just want to rest, you know, go and support other people, because they’re putting this money into trying to make something happen.

Go into it may support them in that way, as well, that that advocacy is really important as well, because it’s about it’s one thing to advocate for the people that who are the decision makers, and we’ve got to get to them, you know, there’s no question about that. But we also have to keep our peers in the game, and we’ve got to do whatever, to support each other, to keep each other in the game.

Because that’s key as well. Because if we lose our base, our number in our base advocacy up here is really hard to do. You know, so we’ve got to do everything we can to support our fellow musicians, fellow music teachers, you know, choir directors, whatever, you know, we’ve got to be willing to do that, and place that value in it ourselves in what we do, and how we use our time and that kind of thing.

You know, so, so very long winded answer, but I think those two things, show them as well as tell them and and then, you know, support each other to make a commitment to value it ourselves.

Yeah, not too long, was worth hearing. Absolutely worth hearing. And, you know, almost that last little bit almost comes back, I can almost hear your mom’s voice saying think about others first, it was certainly not too long.

That was amazing advice with advocacy. It’s tough sometimes to carve out those opportunities yourself, depending on your school and your situation. But we’ve got to keep trying, don’t we?

Yeah, and whatever way we can, you know, I mean, the examples I gave were on a pretty grand scale. And that was just fortunate because there was a some level of support that allowed me to do that. But if you can’t get it on that grand scale, what scale can you get it on, you know, look for how you can do it, you know, and your music, your school music concert, is a chance for you to get everyone involved in doing so.

And if it’s and if you’re not comfortable as the person to do that, because it does take some guts to get up and try and say to everyone, right, you’ve got to sing now, right everyone in but make it as easy as possible for them to be involved. You know, give them a worksheet, put words on a screen or something or whatever you’d like, don’t, don’t make them feel uncomfortable about it, just have an have this expectation that you’ve just got to do it.

And then and then get involved, you know, and then look for ways of finding someone that can help you do that, to get involved a little bit and doing in the in the ways that you can, you know, control that you know, and provide those opportunities, look for whatever it is, you know, if it’s at the school athletics day, and you’ve got some way that you can work out some way of making everybody seen, you know, we’re all gonna sing, you know, we are the champions, my friends, you know, or whatever at the end of the syncope you know, but just make everyone seeing everyone get involved in it in some way.

Not so little steps to to involve people in what you’re doing and over time, you know, have that big picture for yourself and, and over this 12 months, I’m going to try and make sure that I’ve provided an opportunity or two opportunities for the whole school to get involved in singing something you know, or for the whole, you know, for my parent body to get involved, you know, look for those things and just, you know, think outside the box a little bit.

I love it, we have so much good advice to act upon. Love it, love it. Okay, now, we have reached the Coda. Very last thing, Paul, and I’m sure people listening have loved listening to all of the great things you’ve had to say.

But if you just had one more final message to finish off this chat, one thing you’d really like to say to the world. What would it be?

What is it that energizes you in the moment? What is it that you do and is standing in front of a choir or a band or a classroom? The thing that energizes you in the moment? If it is, awesome. Find that thing that invigorates you, I guess that energizes you. And hopefully it is standing in front of a choir or a band or a classroom music class or something like those things that in the moment, energize you, not that you want to go home tired at the end of the day, but in the moment, you know, those things drive?

If you’re an educator, if it is to be an educator, how can I help make a better musical experience for everyone who’s working with me? That’s my role as an educator. That’s my thing. If I’m a musician, I understand the music and its power to communicate. Its power to impact people know that that’s something and so that’s the big picture thing. So when I’m teaching this, know that music has a power to communicate and a power to impact people, and then all of the things that come out of that, you know, look for the detailed and how does something work? How does it? How long is its phrase? What how does the phrase work, etc, in order to help the music have that power to communicate? They’re all the nitty gritty things. But understand that music has the power to communicate.

If people haven’t, there’s a video that I think a TED Talk that everybody should watch if they every musician and every music educator should watch Benjamin Zander, the conductor, and educator has done a TED talk called the transformative power of classical music. Everybody should watch that video, every music teacher should watch that video. Because regardless of what you do, he just brings to life a few different things and just talks about reminds people about how powerful music is.

And I go back to it on a fairly regular basis, at least once a year, I would watch this Ben Zander video, again, because it just, it’s just, you know, for everything he does all the little story, it goes for 20 minutes or so all the little stories that he tells them things, it’s just yeah, this is invaluable. And that comes, you know that I recommend that everyone watches that comes out of this be willing to learn all the time, and be willing to invest in your learning, you know, that’s key, that’s key, it’s investing time, it’s investing finance, it’s not necessarily about finance, about going to a school, or a course or whatever valuable and all that is definitely valuable.

I’m not saying don’t do that. But you know, it’s even the volume is the time to go out with a peer and have a chat about what it is you do. Be willing to buy a cake and coffee for someone to have a chat with them for half an hour an hour about what you guys do about sharing your experiences about what you do and encourage each other, you know, go out and have a coffee with someone who you admire who you think has got some skills that you’d like to learn, go and have a coffee with them and have a chat, you know, and invest that time into making yourself better and being willing to learn.

So you know, so I would say for the sake of others and yourself, be the best educator you can be be the best musician you can be be willing to always learn, you know, they are the things that I think we have to hold on to, don’t beat yourself up about the bad days, don’t beat yourself up about the times where you feel too tired to do these things. Because you’ve got to look after yourself as well.

But if you you know, if you feel that I just want to be the best educator, the best musician, be willing to learn. If that’s your goal, then I think you are well on the way to being a fine teacher and fine musician. That’s what I would say about that.

That is wonderful and it is the perfect place to finish. I think it sums up you as a person, and what it’s like to work with you. I feel very privileged to know you and to have worked with you, Paul, and I thank you very much for having a chat with me because I know anybody else listening to this is going to get so much out of it so thank you on behalf of everyone, Paul, thank you.

No worries at all. My pleasure.

Thank you for joining me for this podcast. Don’t forget you’ll find the show notes and transcript and all sorts of information on If you’ve enjoyed the podcast or found it valuable, you might like to write it on your podcast player and leave a review. I’d really appreciate it if you did. All I can be as the best version of me, all you can do is be the best you.

Until next time, bye!

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This podcast was brought to you by Crescendo Music Education. Connecting, supporting and inspiring music educators. In the show notes, you’ll find links to Crescendos social media platforms. Please connect with me and be part of the Crescendo Community. You might consider becoming a Crescendo member. For a low annual fee you can access hundreds of files, worksheets, printables, workbooks, repeat workshops, webinars, and receive great discounts on events. Come and connect with me, Debbie. Okay, see you in the socials.

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