Wednesday, June 29, 2016

I Don't Care How Much You Know

I don't care how much you know.  I want to know how much you care. ~Pat Summitt, 1954-2016

Wow! Does that quote resonate with me. Of course, it does matter how much you know. It matters a lot. But , you can know an awful lot and if you don't care you can't move people. It takes heart to move individuals. It takes heart and passion to move groups.

I was talking with a group of stage crew members here at Interlochen Arts Camp last evening. I was telling them how impressed I was with them. I wasn't impressed with how much they knew about setting a stage. (Although they knew a great deal about it!) I was, however, impressed with the passion and purpose with which they approached their jobs. Each of them owned the activity in a way that made me respect them and appreciate them fully. They were effectively moving with real purpose and getting the job done in a way that was positive, energetic, and proactive. I could tell how much they cared.

This is yet another example of how I am constantly reminded that "moving with purpose" is an essential key to success in this world that we live in. I can't tell you how frequently I remind members of my ensembles that real musical success requires disciplined mental activity. It requires an active mind and mental habits that are proactive and forward-thinking. Musicians must be anticipating not only their next move, but the next move of other sections, and the conductor. They must be prepared with knowledge and practice, but they must always be in the game mentally.

All of this starts with, as Pat Summitt said, how much you care, not how much you know. Don't get me wrong. Scholarship is important. We have to know a lot. And in this age of Wikipedia and instant information at our fingertips, you still have to know what you're talking about. The learning process from a facts perspective, is so important. But knowledge without passion is flat.

As a teacher, we can articulate the need for passion and caring in many ways. But, I really think modeling passion and caring is the way that students truly learn that aspect of any discipline or activity. Students learn by example. Passion speaks. Passion moves.

Lots of folks know. Show me how much you care. I sure hope that those of you who know me have a sense of how much I care.