A little worried, concerned...should I be?
by Howard Meharg, Web/Editor (January 2, 2019)
I'm worried about us! OK, "worried" is a bit strong. Let me explain. First, I may be the only one concerned about this topic and that renders the word "us" moot. If y'all are not concerned...well, I started to say "I'll not be concerned," but that's not altogether true!
Here it is...concern number one!
Is anybody reading the online articles written by officers, members of the NW ACDA's board...that is, our R&R
chairs, and, in some cases, material we publish that is borrowed from other ACDA or music related publications?
I don't know the answer to this. In fact, for over twenty years of editing and publishing such material I haven't discovered a reliable way to find out whether NW ACDA members actually read this stuff! Did you read it when it was in print form and mailed to you personally? Do you read such articles now that they're in digital form? On what device? I'm not just being nosy. This is important. I believe our choral leaders want to know if anyone is reading what they write. If not, why bother! Writing takes time and many people actually "agonize" over such a task.
So, tell me...am I so linked to the "old days" that I can't imagine anyone flourishing in the profession who doesn't read? Maybe I am. Since "I can't imagine it," someone would have to do a lot of explaining for me to accept the idea that we don't learn from each other and that one important way to learn is to read and absorb, accept or reject, what leaders in the profession tell us...in writing.
But there is another possibility.
As much as I urged climbing on to the digital train nearly twenty years ago with a website and online publications, I worry now that the fleeting nature of texting and even some websites cause users of electronic devices to glance, grab, and go. Never to sit down, take the time to absorb and think about what is being said.
Here's a little analogy for you. It's a little like having one's concert in a gymnasium. The gym is a place for cheering, loud noises, heavy-duty activities. It's almost the antithesis of the magic that can be a part of an auditorium or church where the acoustics are good and where the lighting or general atmosphere contributes and promotes the art itself. Our iPhones are definitely not conducive to reading longer messages. Perhaps tablets are marginally better. A desktop locks one in one place, for good or ill. So, is our current "venue" wrong if we expect folks to actually read our material?
It's hard to get complete buy-in from our R&R people. Yes, it's true. I wonder if one reason is that, subconsciously, they feel "no one reads it anyway," and it's too fleeting. Why bother?
Do you read articles published on our website? Would you read an article if it were in blog form? If we called it to your attention on Facebook or Twitter, would you link to it and read it? How do you grow in your understanding of how to improve the sound of your choir, become a better conductor, or deal with administrative details of your job?
I'd love to hear from a couple hundred of you telling me you do read these articles. I'd love to pass that info along to our board members and officers. Click HERE and send me a note. It need not say anything but "Yes, I read 'em." Or feel free to tell me what you think about this., including why you don't read this stuff.
Here's the "other possibility" as mentioned in the heading above...
Would you be more likely to read this material if we were to step back, pay the cost of postage and printing and mail a hard copy booklet (call it a magazine, if you will), once or twice a year to every NW member of ACDA?
If you have an opinion on the subject, please write and talk to me.