Inspiration from Ed Sprunger’s Workshop

by Elisabeth Ohly-Davis

I really enjoyed the workshop with Ed Sprunger last fall and really appreciated how calm and peaceful the day was. Dr. Sprunger’s story-telling approach to presenting the workshop made the day interesting and thought-provoking. My biggest take-away was to give students more time to make progress. I realized that I was caught up in the “hurry up and achieve” mindset that seems to permeate the culture of teaching today. Since most of my teaching happens in a public high school school large group orchestra setting, the stakes often seem impossibly high. The curriculum prescriptions for public school teachers is vast for the progress that students should make in a year’s time. Add high stakes testing or orchestra contests and concerts, and it’s easy to forget that there are still only a limited number of minutes per day. The workshop really helped me reset my goals for my students, and take a more realistic look at what kind of progress we are able to make each class. Learning to play an instrument continues to be a long, but beautiful, journey and should not be rushed by expectations of instant gratification. It’s OK to hang out with intermediate level music for as long as it takes to achieve the techniques before moving on.

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