It seems all I am doing these days is learning—about new technology and new procedures; about politics, science, mechanics, and engineering; and especially, as a white woman, about the Black Lives Matter movement and Indigenous Peoples here and around the world. Will all of this learning make me a better church musician, administrator, leader, and person who tries to be rooted in equity? I hope so, but I also hope that it will make me a better human in general!
I’ve always been a lifelong learner. For me, the old adage, “The more you know, the more you realize you don’t know” rings true. There are always opportunities to experience new things, to learn more about topics where your understanding is limited, and then to put the newly acquired knowledge into practice. Spring and summer are terrific times for learning as, under normal circumstances, our schedules become less regimented and there are great workshops, conventions, and gatherings of people who specialize in all aspects of church music leadership. This coming summer might be different. It may be that there are no gatherings in person, depending on where the world finds itself with combatting COVID-19. But, there will still be opportunities for learning, perhaps just delivered differently. Look for events from Music United, Choral Canada, The Hymn Society, The Royal Canadian College of Organists, the Summer Institute of Church music, or the Handbell Musicians of Canada just to name a few!
Aside from the usual in-person events, there are many other opportunities for education, refreshment, and renewal; so many good books on theology, liturgy, and music to delve into and short courses to take, as a plethora of material goes digital. Perhaps these COVID times are opportunities to learn new things slightly outside our usual musical scope. The United Church offers many webinars on various topics. When it is next offered, I am hoping to take the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) called Indigenous Canada offered by the University of Alberta.
This summer, we hope you get a chance to learn something new. Perhaps it will be some music, perhaps an awareness of Indigenous composers, perhaps something about technology that can assist you in your leadership. Wherever you are in your career, in your position, in your journey—don’t stop learning!