Hello everyone! Today I have the huge privilege of sharing my Neilly Lecture at the University of Rochester from Tuesday, February 11th. In one of the greatest joys of my career, Prof. Russell Peck (John Hall Deane Professor of English, University of Rochester) introduced me. I would have flown to Rochester for that honor alone!
It was incredible to speak with musicians, professors, administrators, and teachers before and after the lecture. One band director introduced herself to me before the lecture and mentioned that she has been teaching band for 34 years. Of course, my immediate thought was, “my goodness, I’d love to listen to YOU here tonight too!”
One thing that brings us together as teachers (regardless of whether we teach middle-school brass, conservatory violin, or collegiate physics!) is that deepening our understanding of Growth Obstacles (musical, technical, or academic challenges that, given appropriately, spur development) and Hindrance Obstacles (matters of circumstance that stall progress and strike students unevenly) helps students reach their highest goals. Last week really lit a fire under me to continue collaborating with performers, educators, and administrators in support of students and their families!
There is the distinct feeling that Rochester is full of possibilities for becoming Ever Better. And yes, I’ll be carrying that spirit with me back to my Houston lessons! Together, we are persistent and resilient in our pursuit of self-betterment through collaboration, literature, music, theater, science, medicine, technology, and history.
Many thanks to Dean Mary Ann Mavrinac (vice provost and Andrew H. and Janet Dayton Neilly Dean of the University of Rochester Libraries), Ashlee Huff, and Matt Cook for arranging this visit, and to the River Campus Libraries for hosting my trip.
PS — How fitting that on the day of the lecture, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra performed for Rochester public school students! Note the school bus parked right by Eastman. 😉 When children see artistic paths and possibilities, it furthers their own voices and artistic potential. And yes, if you look closely, you’ll see that Eastman’s crosswalk features piano keys!