So a lot of people don’t know this about me, but my first musical instrument was the accordion. It’s something ...
Last weekend marked the conclusion of my 17-year volunteering career with the Ontario Registered Music Teachers’ Association. In the last two of those years, I served as Provincial President. It was a bittersweet weekend hanging out with all my colleagues at ORMTA’s Provincial Convention in Chatham. There’s been so much I’ve gone through in my life these last many years, but the one constant was always ORMTA. Whether it was my start within my local branch or working on Provincial Council, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t focussed on some project or initiative within ORMTA while carrying along with my other musical and professional activities.
So why did I do it? Well, I guess my answer would change depending on when you asked the question. If you asked me in the late 90s, I would say it was because of networking opportunities with fellow teachers. It did result in me garnering many more students. Often local colleagues would refer me if they could not take on the students themselves. It really helped provide me with a solid footing financially after my university years.
In 2008, Provincial Council came a calling for me to join. By this point in my career, I was becoming more known for my various different musical activities, but they were primarily based in the Toronto area. Getting to meet and work with colleagues further afield was definitely a bonus.
When the invitation to join the Provincial Executive (and eventually become President) came along in 2011, I said “yes” purely because of the personal challenge of it. I’m wired weirdly in that way but I really feed off of challenges. I never thought of myself as a leader and an organizer of other people. I’ve never been a very good numbers guy. And most importantly, I hate conflict (which surely cannot be avoided in any organization). But thankfully, the organization is still there and many others continue to further its mandate. So, I guess I did okay holding down the fort.
What emerged this past weekend is that another important reason I devoted my time to this organization was because of the people. I enjoyed the people I worked with. I met so many lifelong friends. I think as humans, we enjoy being in the company of people with similar beliefs and habits. Teaching music can be a lonely endeavour, so ORMTA has masterfully fulfilled that void for any of us who are privileged to be members.
While my health and energy levels don’t allow me to stick it out for another couple of years, I am going to miss it! Without a doubt, I see my work as a teacher and as a volunteer within ORMTA as some of my most important accomplishments in my life. Regardless of what happens in my life from hereon in, the life I’ve led has already been a success thanks to ORMTA.