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Today was the first day of the Music for All Summer Symposium Leadership Weekend and what a blast it was! After registration, hundreds of bright eyed and bushy tailed (which is quite an interesting but odd expression) students, SWAGS, faculty and MFA staff piled into Pruis Hall to kick off this fun-filled growing experience that, even for someone who’s almost a quarter of a way through her life, was nothing short of eye-opening and motivating in the best way. 

It’s easy for many to wear the title, but, as Opening Session speakers Fran Kick and Music for All CEO, Eric Martin explained, it’s a little more difficult to actually exemplify the qualities that make you one. One message that was reiterated several times was, “The more effort you give this week (and in life), the more you will get out of it.” 

This phrase hit home to me because it was something that had been driven into my mind daily during my collegiate years, and truly helped shape me into the go-getter that I am today. 

My sophomore year at Murray State I joined Sigma Alpha Iota, a music fraternity for women. After you sign up to become a member, you go through a probationary period where you learn about the history behind the organization and get to know the members. I remember meeting with several active members in my chapter who said those exact words, “The more you give to the organization, the more you’ll get out of it.”

How this one statement proved to be so true! I made my focus in college, besides to my studies, to the Sigma Alpha Iota mission to further the development of music throughout the world and uphold the highest standards of music, and what I got in return was priceless. Lifelong friendships, career connections and the development of a sincere desire to advocate for the arts, just to name a few, has led me to where I am today as the Marketing Coordinator for Music for All. Such a simple phrase, but a life-changing mindset!

After the Opening Session, SWAG team members and students separated into Small Groups and Break Out Sessions to put the advice we received into practice. In Small Groups, we met with SWAG leaders and took time to talk about our interests so we could see that, though we are from many different places and have had many different life experiences, music connects us in a unique way. 

IMG 1235cNext we met with leadership expert and MFA Summer Symposium veteran, Frank Crockett, to learn how we can achieve success by being both an individual and a team leader. Groups of 10-13 students were given three boards, a rope, three blind folds and were told to cross from one side of three wooden blocks to the other without touching a field of grass. Each person had to demonstrate control over their own abilities and help others find their control as well. Through many trials and errors, it became apparent that sometimes the best method of leading is stepping back and giving others the chance to contribute, while at other times it may be taking over the role as a facilitator and comprehending all perspectives of a situation. 

Overall, today was full of new beginnings, positivity and challenges that helped strengthen us. I’m impressed with each and every person attending and working this Leadership Weekend and can’t wait for even more life-changing experiences! 

Check out more photos and stay up-to-date with everything happening during the MFA Summer Symposium at