Brad’s Beat January 2016
Motivation: the dictionary defines it with the words, "the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way." As I review the generous years of my life, I find that my motivation has been fairly steady throughout the joys and challenges with which I have been presented.
My first seventeen years were dedicated to the discoveries of pleasure and pain that most humans encounter. By five, I knew that I was not the only person who mattered in the world. At thirteen, I discovered that love was not always a two-way street, and just because Sharon is willing to kiss you on Tuesday doesn't mean she will go steady with you on Wednesday. My teenage years were filled with the typical doubting and wondering if there was a reason for breathing, and if I had anything to contribute to the world around me.
When I was sixteen, a friend left a guitar at my house. After learning to play the chords to "Louie, Louie", I knew that my calling in life was to be a rockstar.
At seventeen, my garage band, "The Lite Brigade", signed a contract to cut our first 45 RPM which went on to sell almost 100 copies! Not deterred, I played my guitar at coffee houses and the bass in a long series of hopeful rock bands. One day in May of 1969, just as I was graduating from high school, a fellow rocker invited me to join his youth group at church, and I charged head on into a new world of music and faith that would be the focal point of the motivation for the rest of my life.
My newfound interest in church music required a formal education in music. I attended the University of South Florida for my undergraduate training where I met the beautiful Colette. From our marriage came three important motivators, Joshua, Jessica, and Jamie.
My church music career took a thirty-four year detour when I accepted a job teaching elementary school music in 1973. During my teaching years, I lead choirs and handbell groups in the churches we attended, earned a Masters Degree from the University of Central Florida, started my publishing company BLB Studios, and began a life-long relationship with Rhythm Band Instruments of Fort Worth, Texas.
My motivation for each new day continues to be driven by making and sharing the gift of music with the students, friends, and professional colleagues with whom I share relationships. The message of hope and faith that motivates all of my actions is a natural extension of the music I perform and create.
I suspect that your motivation for living and working can be tied to the experiences you have with music. What other art form can physically express the metaphysical meaning of living in such personal and profound ways? As music teachers, we have the great honor and responsibility of opening a world of heartfelt expression to our students.
When performing or listening to music, students learn to express the deep inner feelings that we share as human beings in sometimes challenging and often uplifting ways. "We Shall Overcome", "All You Need is Love", "Adagio for Strings", "Hallelujah", and "Rudolf, the Red Nosed Reindeer" each were conceived from real life experiences. Performers and audiences alike participate concretely in the abstract world of emotion when exposed to the harmonic bravado and melodic fancies of composers from all periods of history.
Go forth, my friends, with hope and joy. You bring the world of music to your students, and perhaps through the experiences you share together, the world will become a better and more stable place. That hope should bring motivation to us all!
That's Brad's Beat for January 2016. "Rats", just when I get used to writing 2015, it is time to learn a new date! The swift passage of hours, days, weeks, months, and years is a natural motivator for me to dig in and appreciate this gift of life that we all share. As you seek your motivation and share the gift of music with your students, don't hesitate to call on us at Rhythm Band Instruments for support. We share your passion for helping the children of the world learn to express themselves through their experiences with music!
Bradley L. Bonner, M.Ed.
President, BLB Studios
Elementary Music Specialist, Rhythm Band Instruments