What’s the point?

That has been the theme of my first weeks back at Muskingum. Coming off of a whirlwind summer working at a camp in Maine, this year kind of snuck up on me. In my very first class, Choral and Instrumental Teaching Methods, my professor read a whole bunch of headlines from that particular day’s New York Times. And they were horrible. A lot of terrible stuff is happening around the world. After he was done with the headlines he asked… “So why music? Defend your chosen profession.”

What a way to start the year, right? An intense philosophical discussion right off the bat about why what we do matters. But I got to thinking that the question reaches beyond music education. Why are we at college? What difference will what we do make in the world?

Music has made an enormous impact on me. But this summer, working with over-privileged children (if that’s a phrase) I felt like I didn’t make a difference at all.

The morning after said discussion, the same professor posted an article and video on Facebook of a choir in Jerusalem made up of thirteen Palestinian and thirteen Jewish teens. In the midst of all of the fighting and killing and shooting and bombing, they are meeting to rehearse. And to talk.

So it does make a difference. It can make a profound and powerful difference, even if it only happens twenty-six people at a time. But those twenty-six can share with another twenty-six, and the hope is that the inspiration and spirit spreads.

So what’s the point? I can’t speak for everyone. Not everyone is going into music ed, after all. But I don’t think it matters. The point is that there is a point. And it’s nice to stop every once in a while and be reminded of your goals, and your dreams, and why they matter.

-Elyssa

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