January 2018 Update

Good evening,

I thought I would write more frequently that I actually did this past Fall.  Some great updates, I have completed 15 credit hours toward my DMA in Choral Conducting.  I have learned so much and enjoyed my first semester as a student in almost ten years.  I even got to stand in front of the incredible Santa Fe Desert Chorale during their residency at UNT.  There just could not be a better time to be studying conducting at UNT.

I am scheduled to perform my first DMA Recital with my colleague and friend Brian C. Murray on March 1st at 6:30 PM in the UNT Recital Hall.  The UNT Conductors’ Chorus will be the choir and we plan to have some fantastic string players and soloists.  I will conduct the Missa Brevis in F, K. 192 and Brian will conduct the Missa Brevis in Bb, K. 275 both by Mozart.  I hope to see you there!

I have loved my four jobs – St. Philip Presbyterian Church Director of Music, Coppell Community Choir Artistic Director, UNT Graduate Assistant in the COM Development Office, and Voice Faculty Member at Marcus High School.  It has been a whirlwind, but quite fun!!  I have enjoyed getting to know so many new people!!

On Saturday one of my voice students and three of my former students at Coppell were selected for an All-State Choir.  I am so proud of them!!!

Tomorrow I start my Spring Semester provided that the weather cooperates.  It should be great fun.  I get to sing the Verdi Requiem as part of the UNT Grand Chorus.  I can hardly wait!!

I wish you all the best in 2018!

Josh

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Settling into my new normal…

The last several weeks have been a wave of adjustments.  Graduate Placement Exams (which I passed all of them), Choir Auditions (which I sang and helped run), A Cappella Call Backs, first Classes, first day on my new Development Positions, and today was another first…I got to meet and start teaching some of my private voice students at Marcus High School.

It is very nice to be on a high school campus again.  It was hard to leave kids and people I loved at Coppell, and I already feel like I have a great purpose teaching voice at Marcus.  It certainly has me paying more attention in my classes with Dr. Austin at UNT!  The kids have amazing energy, and I cannot wait to see how much they grow.  Hearing the choirs at Marcus sing has been inspirational in and of itself.  It is so nice not being in charge, but still be a part of a team.  I am sure being at Marcus will be an exciting part of my new adventure.

Singing in a choir again has also been a great experience.  Saying that the UNT A Cappella Choir is incredible really doesn’t even begin to do it justice.  Some of the most talented voices and most sensitive artists I have sung with for sure!  Another cool thing is that one of my former singers from Coppell HS is actually in the choir with me.  We dispensed with the Mr. Brown business pretty quick. I pretty much respond to Mr. Brown with “that’s the man I used to be” when people call me that now. The music is hard as nails, and I have actually gone to the practice room more than once to make sure I have my life together.    Maybe I still don’t have my life together…  It is too early in the game to start disappointing my choir director!  We have a retreat tomorrow and I can hardly wait.

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Reflections on Leadership

One of my class assignments is to read/listen to materials on leadership prior to class. Here are some thoughts I have had recently on leadership.

1. Leaders must love people and be a servant. It is hard to lead people if you don’t sincerely care for them and are willing to do the less glamorous things that are required to help them. One of my readings related to this is “The Conductor as Servant Leader by Ramona Mis which speaks to this as well as a number of other topics related to servant oriented musical leadership.

2. Challenges and criticism are unavoidable; how we respond is up to us. I recently viewed Steve Job’s response to some unconstructive criticism and it shocked me how calm and effectively he responded. I mentioned this article a few days ago in another blog post, but feel it is worthy of another mention! https://www.inc.com/justin-bariso/20-years-ago-steve-jobs-demonstrated-the-perfect-w.html

3. Thinking is essential to personal growth. It is vital to carve out time in your busy schedule to think. Then it is vital that those thoughts are written down and considered even more deeply. I am currently on the second chapter of “How Successful People Think” by John C. Maxwell which was recommended to me by one of my most brilliant friends. I highly recommend it!

4. Knowing your own limitations and providing yourself the supports you need in those areas strengthen you.

5. Communication and transparency build trust. Trust gives credibility to your leadership.

Stay tuned for more as I update this post!!

New Website!

Today I am working on starting a new website where I can keep current information about all the things I have going on.  I am excited about starting at UNT over the next weeks as well as teaching voice lessons at Marcus High!!  Stay tuned for more content!