<"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> Welcome to the Ceili
Friday, February 22, 2008
Since when am I the expert?
Sometimes I just don't get it.

My proposal to present at the regional SEM conference got accepted, so I'm off (with Ethnomusicology Cohort) to present at another, although radically different, scholarly conference.

I understand that part of Grad School is learning how to transition from student to teacher/scholar, but every single time one of these proposals gets accepted or I get asked to do a presentation for a colleague either here at FPU or at a neighboring institution I want to ask, "Really??? Are you sure you didn't email the wrong person?"

To a certain extent I feel like that when I play any type of mentoring/teaching role to the undergrads here. Not so much in my discussion section, but when undergrads treat me with any type deference because they perceive me to be an unlimited source of knowledge or particularly musically distinguished, or when they use words like "role model," I tend to get a little freaked. I mean, I am well aware that there are large gaps in my knowledge, that I have a long way to go to be the type of Irish Traditional Musician I want to be, and that sometimes I'm just as lazy and dim-witted as you can imagine.

But they don't see that.

And I guess that's a model for the artistry we all aspire to. You never got to see Andy Irvine screw up 34 times before he got it right the 35th time. You see the product of the process, not the process itself.

I find Coyotebanjo's most recent words particularly true of myself, and most of my other grad student colleagues:

    Mostly, they're scared.

    They're scared they can't cut it;

    They're scared that other students have expertise or skills they themselves lack;

    They're scared that getting into
    [the] Music School [Grad Program] was either a fluke or a bad idea;

    They're scared, most of all, deep down in their heart of hearts, no matter how popular they were in
    [undergrad] or how high they could play or how many first-chair assignments they got or how far they could throw a tight spiral or how many guys bought them how many worthless trinkets (or illegal beers)......

    that they're dumb.
When I got here, I was convinced I didn't belong, as a musician or a scholar. But the longer I stay here, and get pushed and prodded into situations I'm not sure I'm ready for, the more I'm mentored and driven past my own limiting, self-imposed boundaries.......the more the above thoughts and self-conceptions crumble.

Which I guess is the point.

    Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?....Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.....We were born to make manifest the glory of God [which I take to be the divine....namaste] that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

And even though I occasionally get a flash of Happy Texas in my head:
    WAYNE: If you ever leave me with a kid again, I will make sure that you never have one! You have no idea what it is like to have these screamin' little booger eaters lookin' up at you, expecting you to know stuff.
Even though I constantly want to ask someone, "Since when am I an expert on anything?"

I am learning to "show up for the impossible."

Because the world has been proven to be bigger and full of more possibilities than I ever imagined.

Peace, Love, and Tunes,



posted by Mac Tíre at 12:59 PM ¤ Permalink ¤