The ability to make a difference in people’s lives is something that we all hope to have one day. I am so lucky because I get to do it every summer, continuing an already very long legacy in which I was lucky enough to be included many years ago. I was inspired then, and have had the desire implanted in me to inspire others. We continue to inspire, and the legacy lives on.
I know it works! I have seen it in action, and I have experienced it first hand. As long as I am around, it will never go away. I’m talking, of course, about the summer jazz camps here in California. I attended them as a student beginning in 1990, when I was 12 years old, and since 1996, I have been on the faculty. Our job is to inspire people to find the creative passion inside of them. Our medium is music.
This year, here in Mammoth Lakes, I have seen what our inspiration is doing on a grand scale. In my teachings this week, I have seen more lightbulbs turn on and more outbursts of creativity in my students than I ever have before. I had the beginners for band this time, and though they came in as beginners, today on the last day of instruction they have become creative stars! My kids are playing music at an ability level far beyond what would have been expected at their level even as recently as last year. I have never seen anything like it!
All but one of my students are here for the first time this year. They have been inspired, and will continue to do great things. If they return again next year, they will become part of the chain of inspiration. All of our veteran students inspire the newcomers on an entirely different level than the faculty can. The ability to show teenagers that they are not limited, and that their world is very open and waiting for them to contribute something, is one that permeates all of us who take part in this great event. It truly is a beautiful thing, and I plan to make my contribution a thousand times over. If we are able to show others what is possible in this world, then it becomes our duty to allow ourselves to be seen.
Let’s keep contributing!