Wednesday, 15 April 2009

of appointments and Appointments

I have a hospital appointment tomorrow. This is for a relatively minor chronic condition for which my GP cannot prescribe me appropriate medication (what she is allowed to prescribe makes me depressed, and I'm not willing to put up with that side effect). I've waited some months for the appointment, by the time I've been referred to one place and another. I really hope they can help, otherwise it's more referrals and more waiting.

I've been having career-related thoughts today. My plan for some time has been to keep teaching music, and also do some arranging and composing, some education and outreach projects with friends, get involved in the local community. Eventually I want to do a Master's, though the list of possible subjects is so long I daren't look at it. It has also been my plan to eventually get to the point where my private teaching is all done from my home, and none of it on conventional weekends; this will take a while as right now about half my income is generated from the work I do on Sundays.

I learned that the music director at Leafy Suburb Church is going to be leaving. A small part of my brain filed that information away on Sunday and then presented it to me today as the daft notion that I should apply for the position.

There are many very good reasons why I am not going to do that; I'm not going to list them here. The main thing is that the timing and location are all wrong.

But... I do have most of the basic skills I would need. Okay, I'm not an organist, but I could learn it: the trick is to remember that it isn't a piano. My choral conducting skills are rusty at best but they'd improve fast with regular use, as I found out when I was doing some conducting every week for Big Project. Moving every two or three years as a child and singing in as many choirs as I could until university (when I had to cut back to one) means I'm familiar with most choral problems, if not the solutions to all of them. I don't know much about C of E liturgy and I'm unfamiliar with much of the standard repertoire in this country but that's nothing that can't be solved, in fact nothing I wasn't planning on learning more about anyway. There are issues around making things accessible to a younger generation without alienating those with more traditional tastes but I'm going to encounter those in all areas of music teaching and performance.

Most of my life I've wanted to teach and write music; to my great joy, that's what I've ended up doing. Most of my life I've been aware on some level that music is an important or even essential part of worship, for me, and singing especially so. Why it has never occurred to me (despite, looking back over the last year or so, a few suggestions from various directions) to take seriously the possibility of combining these two, I'm not sure. Pursued carefully it fits around my existing career plans rather well. And maybe nothing will come of this, but it's an interesting nudge and one that I'm not going to ignore.

I'm not going to do much about it immediately, either. Right now I need to get through the last bits of my degree. Then I need to move house and spend some time building up a class of students in the new area, and adjust to being an impoverished music teacher rather than an impoverished student.

For now, about the only thing that changes is this: when I'm looking for a church to attend in the area I'll be moving to this summer, I won't necessarily discount or reject communities that don't have a strong, vibrant music program. I can always help to build one after I get there.


Kathryn said...

Cue another attack of wishing Stroud were part of London - I would so love to have someone with the skills & the longing to rebuild the music here, which is currently tragic :(

On another note, the hymn A Place at the Table is lurking in "hymns of Glory, Songs of Praise" but sadly not in any of the more standard English books.

And finally, but most importantly, do hope all goes smoothly at the hospital. Blessings go with you

Song in my Heart said...

Thanks for the information, the well-wishes and the wishful thinking!

I think Leafy Suburb Church has some copies of that hymnal so will have a look when I'm next there.

Today's medical stuff is minor compared to some of what I deal with, but it has been very frustrating as it ought to be simple to treat.

Stroud really is too far from London to make a sustainable commute! And my skills will largely be picked up as I go along, I think. But if I do end up taking a leadership role in church music I will certainly document it so others might learn from my mistakes. (may have made one of those this morning, see post above!)

Arkady said...

Most church musical directors come with a lengthy background in directorship, but certainly applying for the position would be excellent experience. :-)