Ten Work Items for 2011, Task #5

Number 5 is short and sweet, like Five Golden Rings! 

Let’s practice what we preach.  Let’s approach our work with creativity, and with an appetite for risk.  Although my interpretation of his work may be over-simplified, Robert Persig, in his iconic work, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (and later in Lila), asserted that unless we are moving forward, unless we are dynamic in our approach to life, we are moving backward and declining, that there is no stasis, or even place. 

His philosophy speaks clearly to those of us in the arts.  If we are not exploring new ideas, stretching ourselves creatively and going out on limbs, we are not serving our art form, or ourselves well.  We are sitting on our hands, and as such, sliding backward.

This work task is accomplished by asking ourselves, every time we are in a decision-making situation, “am I looking at this through the eyes of an artist?”


About the author

James Undercofler

Jim has been a Professor at Drexel University since May, 2009. His previous appointment - since August, 2007 - was as the President and CEO of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Jim was Dean of the Eastman School of Music from 1997 to 2007. He has played a prominent role in musical arts and music education throughout his career. Before joining Eastman in 1995 as associate director for academic affairs and professor of music education, he was an active, performing chamber musician as well as first horn in the New Haven Symphony. Jim serves as board president, American Music Center; advisory board member, Arts Education Policy Review; board member, Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, New York State Association of College Music Programs and American Symphony Orchestra League, and is a founding member, NETWORK of Performing and Visual Arts Schools and Mercury Opera of Rochester.

Read James Undercofler's blog [l=http://web.esm.rochester.edu/poly/blog/author/junder/]here[/l].

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