When I hear a student start a sentence with "I didn't think I could do it, but..." If I hear those words, I know the student has discovered something new about themselves. Students always have more potential than they think they do. I hope that my classes open them up to new horizons and new ideas about what they are able to accomplish.
Kevin Durant, the All-Star small forward for the Oklahoma City Thunder, once wrote that his favorite quote was "Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard." There is a perception that talent is all you need to succeed as an athlete or an artist. While that may be true on some level, the reality is that if you work hard, you will be successful. Consistent hard work and effort are critical to success as an artist.
The Mercury Records recordings produced in the1950s by the Eastman Wind Ensemble conducted by Fred Fennell were huge influences on me as a young musician. These recordings set a new standard for bands and wind ensembles and produced landmark versions of standard wind repertoire: the Holst Suites, Lincolnshire Posy, the Hindemith Symphony in B-flat, and more. They remain wonderful recordings while also reminding us how far wind ensembles have come over the last 60+ years. The video of Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring with the Martha Graham Company is one of the most breathtaking artistic performances ever produced. Appalachian Spring, in my opinion, is the greatest piece of American music ever written, and to see it with Martha Graham's choreography as she dances the lead role is an unbelievable experience. It is a perfect example of how music, dance, drama, and visual art can come together to create a complete work of art. There is a video of the Graham Company's first reproduction of the ballet in 1959 available on YouTube in four parts (the piece was premiered in 1944). If you have never seen Appalachian Spring as a ballet, you should absolutely check this out.