On Music and Technology, Teaching Awards and Future Collaborations

Last month, I was named the Tech Teacher of the Year. Last week, I got to pick up the hardware on the other side of the country:

The Tech Teacher of the Year Award is the brainchild of Roland Canada, Music for Young Children and Conservatory Canada. It is the first time that this award has been given out. The representatives involved decided to present the award at the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers' Associations (CFMTA) national convention in Halfiax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

The magnitude of the award didn't hit me until I stepped into the ballroom at the World Trade and Convention Centre. The mere thought of standing in front of music teachers from all over North America, many of whom have been teaching for far longer than I, was overwhelming. The realization that I had to come up with a decent acceptance speech was frightening.

Thanks to my previous "lives" - arts marketing and fund development, special events and communications - experience and Divine inspiration kicked in. Ergo, I am familiar with the "lead sheet" of an acceptance speech. All that was left was to decide upon a few salient points while my shaking hands tried to direct my meal into my mouth.

Now I can't remember everything I said. I do remember thanking the sponsors for coming up with the idea and for paying my transportation and accommodation to the convention. I vaguely remember mentioning how difficult it was to put the submission together (my first take was over 10 minutes long!). As well, I mentioned how my students are equally fascinated with old technology, tasking me with finding an old magnetic tape recorder.

My last point is one that I've made several times here: technology doesn't have to be scary. It took me years to get my studio to where it is today. Even then, it wasn't until my involvement with Eric Whitacre's Virtual Choir last year that I upped my game on the music and technology front.

Roland Canada hosted a dinner for the participants who were in attendance at the convention. It was inspirational to just meet and chat with this bright individuals and to express the desire to work together.

When I was able to tell the world that I had won the award, I shared my news on Eric Whitacre's Facebook Wall. I know I shouldn't be surprised that he replied. After all, Eric has nurtured a great relationship with his fans and members of Virtual Choir - to the point that he drops into the odd Virtual Choir Google Hangout and has dinner with 10 VC members who decide to go to Vancouver to catch him in concert:

However, knowing how busy he must be, it's still a bit shocking to get a reply from him:

Even though we know that composer Eric Whitacre is really connected with members of his Virtual Choir and his fans, it's still a shock to get a personal note from him.

What's next on the horizon? Who knows? I just know that now that I'm back from Halifax, I have to fight the urge to incorporate all the neat ideas I picked up - all at once.