What makes a tuba a tuba?

What makes a band a band? What makes a choir a choir? What makes an orchestra an orchestra? What makes music music? What makes…  As I continue to travel this glorious rabbit hole called a PhD, I am constantly challenged on my beliefs and understandings of what music is, what being a musician is, what being a music educator is, and the complex relationship between each of these. The identity I have as a band director only encapsulates a small portion of my musical being. It is where I am most historically associated in music practice and it is where I’ve spent much of my professional career, but it cannot and does not represent all of my thoughts.

Often, musicians are categorized into five distinct fields that one must identify with: band, choir, orchestra, other (including popular, world, etc.), or not a musician. Unfortunately, our way of knowing and experiencing music as a part of being human does not fit neatly into any 1 of these categories. My journey through this rabbit hole often leads me to question who I am.

As an educator, I am curious what process our students go through in defining their own relationship with music. Are they as conflicted in trying to fit into a prescribed box, or do they even recognize that boxes exist? Do they struggle to identify their relationship with music? Is that even a concern for them, or does music just exists as a part of them and they never question it?

As I move further into this hole, I am excited to find more questions about music… more question about my identity as a musician… more questions about my identity as a music educator… more questions about student perspectives on their own identity… more questions about…



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