Updated: Nov 29
My Mom’s friend Joan was a teacher in my elementary school, PS 79 in Whitestone, New York (Queens). Joan taught 5th grade, and as I remember, she was also the Glee Club leader.
I tell you this story because even my Mom’s friend, who we called “Aunt Joan,” would not put me in the Glee Club.
Why, you ask?
I can’t sing… could not then… I can’t now!
This made me sad, especially since my BFF (Linda) was in the Glee Club. These were big problems back in 1970-something.
Eventually, it came time to go to Junior High School, and I was invited into the music program. Clearly, they had not called Aunt Joan for a reference. I did, however, consult Aunt Joan (or at least my Mom did), and she suggested a wind instrument. How lovely, Flute or Oboe are beautiful instruments- or as she said, you can’t possibly sing while you play one.
The rest is history…and the story of the first time I felt powerful.
I learned the rules of Band Class (and, of course, how to play the Flute).
The conductor is another word for a coach. They will get the band to play together, and their job is to bring the best out of each person/musician.
If you can’t work as a team- The results make dogs howl for block and blocks…But, when you do, you can create beautiful music.
The *First Chair is like the Quarterback in Football. If you want to be the one who gets carried off the field for the big win- YOU MUST be the first chair. So, in other words, I learned about healthy competition.
If you get the solo in a concert- you have reached the pinnacle of your teenage years.
And lastly, If you want to get to Carnegie Hall- You have to PRACTICE!!!
So why did this make me powerful, you ask?
I found something I was good at, and I studied and practiced. I was coachable and fearless.
I did the work and took Barbara Lerner DOWN….Wait, let me put that in a different. I studied, I practiced, and I beat out my main competition (Barbar Lerner) for the first Chair at JHS 185.
I learned right then that if you do the work in a committed and fearless way, you too can get carried off the field in a field of confetti (OK, there was no confetti).
I learned winning was good as long as you raise up all around you.
Being good at everything is NOT the key to life- Being good, better, or best at something is very rewarding.
So, as a Manager or Fundraiser, what can you learn from this?
As Managers- Be the Conductor. Bring the best out in each of your members and get them to work as a team. Help them to feel powerful by being the very best at what they are doing. Ask for help if you need it- I happen to know some great Trainers—one even plays the Flute (www.TeamKatandMouse.com)
As a Fundraiser, become very best at one facet of Fundraising but learn the others. Be the first chair but be ready to answer questions about other types of Fundraising and bring in experts in different kinds of Fundraising from your team when needed.
Play as a team. The music (and results) created when you work as a team is amazing, and we all are aware of what happens if you don’t.
The magic of a solo can come over and over again when you look for new relationships, share your mission story, and bring new supporters into the fold.
A word about Carnegie Hall and practice.
In 1976, after a ridiculous amount of audition preparation, I earned a seat in the Queens Boroughwide Concert Band. Each year one of the Boroughs gets a chance to play at the most famous concert hall in America. It was Queen’s turn, and along with my dear friend Rob, in gowns and tuxedos (his was powder blue-My gown was seafoam green—Ahhh, the 1970s), we took the stage. I was not a first chair—or even first row. But, I was in the room where it happened, and I felt POWERFUL as I did the work to make it happen.
You own your feeling of power…Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t
Become the best through training, coaching, and bringing all around you to the next level.
Team Kat & Mouse is here to help! Reach out today
*The first chair in an orchestra or band holds a lot of power: after the conductor, the rest of the ensemble looks to the first chair for clues on musicality and performance. Because of this, the position of the first chair usually goes to an accomplished musician who is conscientious enough to keep the group on task.