On Resourcefulness

Our deck is normally a lovely, relaxing place… in nice weather. At the time this photo was taken, it was -20° F and, well, this much snow was on the ground.

Be Resourceful.

I’m a word nerd, truth be told. I love looking up definitions of words, so as to be able to use them in their most effective way. The Merriam-Webster definition of the word “resourceful” is as follows:

Able to meet situations capable of devising ways and means.

“Resourceful.” It’s the third term in my carriage acronym, and it’s a good one. It goes hand in hand with being creative, really. But one who is creative may not always be resourceful.

Personal practice is a big area in which musicians need to be resourceful. That is something that I aim to be more clear about with students in my lesson teaching, going forward. I can guide students and tell them how to practice at home, tell them what to work on and how, but ultimately they (in some cases along with the help of parents) need to be resourceful in how they manage and follow through with their routine. What works for one person may not work for the next.

Resourcefulness, in my mind, also means a “don’t quit” kind of attitude. The going will get tough – in life as a musician, and in life in general. If we do not learn how to be resourceful, how to “devise ways and means,” we will simply not succeed. Resourcefulness = hard work; effort.

Today in Wisconsin we are currently experiencing all-time record low temperatures, as is much of the Midwest. Everything is shut down. No school, no mail, no lessons, not much of anything because it is somewhat dangerous to be outside for more than a very short period of time. I was just going back and forth with some private lesson teacher colleagues about what they are doing with students in a circumstance like this. A lot of them are doing Skype (or other video conferencing platform) lessons. Huh. Occasionally I’ll ask students to send videos to me to show progress when there’s something important upcoming, but I hadn’t ever gone so far as to dig into hosting the actual lesson online. That’s fairly resourceful, I’d say!

If you’re a family that I work with and you’re reading this, watch out… next snow day/cold day, we may have a different set-up. To tie some ideas together, through being actively involved with a network of tech-savvy teachers, I may be able to pick up some resourceful tricks to benefit my studio.