TG20558How lucky we’ve been as staff to have two first days of camp – it’s like Christmas came twice! 

Today was day one for our full-week campers and just seeing the joy on their faces as they picked up their binders and name tags made my heart warm and full. 

As leadership campers made our newcomers feel a part of the MFA family at registration, I felt compelled to yell and high five with them too, proving that the enthusiasm of the Music for All Summer Symposium is truly contagious. 

As we all loaded into Opening Session and the auditorium lights were lowered, it felt like room was still lit, but by the students and directors faces in the crowd. The energy that radiated from the room was like standing in the sun on the beach, but positively comforting and unique!

After Music for All CEO, Eric Martin took the stage, he invited Ball State University President, Paul Ferguson to talk about the value that the Summer Symposium adds to this university. He talked about how, though Music for All is always very appreciative to be able to take advantage of such a safe and friendly campus, Ball State also benefits from the opportunity to be a part of so many students’ learning experiences outside of their usual realm with collegiate students. 

The day was full of contagious energy though. Through the busy and sometimes crazy runs between different tracks, buildings and sessions, the smiles, laughter and optimism shared among everyone here helped us all focus on what we all came here to focus on, the music.


When observing the color guard and marching band welcome sessions, it showed that the attitudes among campers and faculty truly set the tone for everything that happened and set a pace for the week.

The day was also filled with clinician and keynote sessions for both students and directors with nationally recognized musicians and directors such as Richard Floyd, Richard Saucedo, Ian Grom, and Deborah Price. 

One session that I found eye-opening both musically and intellectually was the “Getting to the Art of the Matter” with Richard Floyd. This directors’ session didn’t apply to me directly, since I am not a director myself, but it spoke to me in the sense that sometimes we get caught up in the clutter of life, the little stresses that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things, but often distract us from the things that really matter, like our motivators and goals. For band directors, Floyd talked about how the focus that sometimes gets lost is, ironically, the growth and learning of the kids. There’s always so much behind the scenes work that bogs us down that when there’s face time with students we can feel tense or distracted. If we let go of that, we can do our jobs better.


This really came full circle to the attitude lesson that I learned earlier that morning. If we stay focused and have a positive attitude about what really matters, we can tune out the distractions that are getting in the way of us doing our jobs in the best possible way. When we spread that outlook to others, it’s like putting a whole rest on anything that’s getting in the way of our life missions. 

I’m confident that the others in this session walked away feeling recharged and only hope that they can bring back this message to their colleagues. 

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