It’s hard for me to get used to this blog being read by colleagues and future employers. I think it will always feel like a bit of personal correspondence or a note to myself. I think part of what makes me me is that I am relatively unguarded, and though this blog may be full of advice and opinion, my hope is that it comes off more as The Human Condition, via the Cello than Do This, by Emily.
Anyway, a common thread here has been the idea that you always go where you’re pointed. Managing the trajectory of your life, your practice session, or your car is crucial to success, progress, and returning from the grocery store alive, respectively.
I’ve gotten a number of emails congratulating me on my teaching job at Johns Hopkins. (Dr. Rice just spat coffee onto his computer screen, I know it.) When I send an email clarifying that I am going to be enrolling there, and at the School of Education, I get a very polite response essentially saying: “Dear Emily, you’re smoking crack. Keep up the funny blog! Signed, x”.
It tickles me to get responses like this, because for me they are indicators that I’m doing the right thing. For whatever reason, my path has not been the prescribed straight line ascending to cello glory. Every step has been a challenge, asking me, “Do you really want to do this?” To find the answers, I have racked up insane amounts of airmiles and passport stamps, sat through 10 years of physical therapy, taken entire semesters off due to injury, considered careers in both paleontology and aviation, had one surgery, two tours, and have produced one book out of 3 in progress.
The answer is yes. Yes, I really want to do this. Every bit of my energy goes into becoming a better cellist, a more effective and hopefully inspiring educator. Even the things I did wrong were useful, because I have that in common with the students who are tempted to do the same. And yes, I want to share this process with people. Some would rather not humble themselves publicly and instead, magically appear at the end of 2 years with a Masters degree: I understand that. I make no secret that, Hopkins or not, I’m always learning. When you add in how specifically the JHU course is tailored to my trajectory, it would humble this blog not to include the new insight. If I do things right, in 20 years, I’ll still be on as steep a learning curve. God forbid I ever feel done with this thing.
So where do you think I’m headed? I’m going to Hopkins to get a Masters in Education Science and yet I’m practicing an average or 4 hours a day. Hmmm…what could that possibly lead to?
Take it away, Fellini:
“Put yourself into life and never lose your openness, your childish enthusiasm throughout the journey that is life, and things will come your way.”
Image from ApogeeRockets.
"Put yourself into life and never lose your openness, your childish enthusiasm throughout the journey that is life, and things will come your way."
Sharing your wisdom, your skills, yourself with others will bring you a satisfaction that focus on self can never do. Your thoughts here are an inspiration to all of us who attempt the challenge of a stringed instrument. I say this after a career in science and 37 years of teaching. Cello has helped keep alive that "childish enthusiasm", and your encouraging comments here have inspired me (and I know others) when I was sure I was crazy to attempt something so difficult, so challenging, so ego threatening as an adult. You are a gifted cellist and also a gifted teacher, a combination well worth aspiring to! Thank you for this blog. Good luck in your studies at Johns Hopkins. Maybe you'll be close enough now that I could hop down to Washington for a lesson!
Miss Emily, you are headed for success, not only because you possess prodigious musical+teaching abilities and undaunted perseverance, but above all else, you have a generosity that comes from your heart and spirit and you show it in your action everyday.
But you have to admit, being a cello-playing paleontologist would be all kinds of awesome. Maybe we should suggest this to Elizabeth Peters for her next series of mysteries.
First of all, congratulations on the new gig!
Second, I never waste coffee …