In the Bleak Midwinter

In the Bleak Midwinter – BYU Singers

We’ve now officially entered my least favorite time of year — the absolutely wonderful few months where I leave for school before the sun rises, and leave for home after the sun has gone down. I find myself feeling drained of energy fairly frequently, and my motivation also tends to take a bit of a hit. I yearn for the long, warm days of late spring that are oh so many weeks away.

My students are feeling the drag as well. They come to class every morning bleary-eyed and cold; they want what we all do, just another 15 minutes under their warm covers each morning. But there is a job that must be done, and we must find the motivation to do our very best work on the dark, snowy mornings of winter.

By the way, those top two paragraphs don’t apply to folks who live in Southern California. If that’s you, feel free to ignore them.

Winter can be a great time for us educators to learn something new. Opportunities for professional development are bountiful, if you know where to look. Great professional conferences like the Midwest Clinic or the Michigan Music Conference are right around the corner. These conferences tend to hit right when our batteries are most in need of a recharge—what better way to provide it than several days of talks and performances from inspirational teachers and musicians?

I’ve also found myself spending a great deal of time on the Soundtree Institute this winter. When we were enjoying daylight until nearly 10PM this summer, my evenings were spent on a bicycle or at a ballgame. The cold, rainy Michigan fall and winter has made enjoying some quality webinars at home with some hot cocoa a very attractive prospect.

Many colleges are performing some excellent end-of-semester concerts this time of year. Just this past Tuesday, the Michigan State University Wind Symphony gave the wind version world premiere of a John Corigliano work, Tournaments Overture. The concert band performed some Ives (Variations on America) and Persichetti (Symphony No. 6) Winter concerts are a great venue for discovering new music, or reconnecting with some old favorites.

Although winter can be a generally unpleasant time of year, it’s important that we take advantage of opportunities to improve our teaching and recharge our batteries.


One thought on “In the Bleak Midwinter

  1. Hi Joe,

    I can totally agree with all of the feelings you are describing – I get so lethargic during the winter time, and we don’t have it half as bad as you do up in MI (I’m in PA)!

    I tend to give in to the aches and sleepiness, but I love your suggestions for fighting it and using your time and energy for better things. I’m looking forward to attending an upcoming January Orff Workshop hosted by Rollo Dillworth as well as some local concerts and events. I have to admit, though – many nights, you can find me curled up on the couch with a steamy beverage and my laptop, cruising Twitter and reading all of the “on-demand” PD that you can find there!

    Stay warm!

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