Winter of 1999
After 6 months of being a music director for the “Church of Jesus Christ” (not the Latter Day Saints) church choir, my vocal director who was the one in charge of the choir decided to change congregations due to personal reasons of course.
Who was going to take over?
Everybody immediately wanted little ol’ me to run the choir. Now, I’m 19, a year just out of high school I had zero experience in leadership. Fear just consumed me, there was no way I was going to take over this massive undertaking.
Yes, I chickened out! You can laugh later.
Fortunately, I became music director of another church just 2 years later, but that’s another story. I’ve been a music minister of The Lord since I was about 10 years of age.
You would figure I would know something about how to run a church band by 19, right?
I actually did know something, I just didn’t have the confidence or certain personality traits under my belt. But you have to start somewhere.
Leaders are made, not born.
After almost 15 years of being a leader in the church and as an educator I have failed a gazillion times and I’m still making mistakes. And praying that I don’t make the same mistakes twice.
I don’t claim to be the perfect leader and probably won’t ever be. Failures have given me wisdom to be prepared for the future.
At first I was thinking of coming up with just a list of 10 things but the Holy Ghost came over me and I almost started speaking In tongues ( ah-la,la,la,la, shandororo, shaba!) and I forked out 35 qualifications of a music director. Here they are in no particular order.
- Passion: If you don’t love this gig than your team and yourself won’t grow.
- Learner: Conformity keeps your team stagnate, become a lifelong learner and pickup some new skills. Your team will grow and learn as you do.
- People Person: Fear, apathy and shyness of people will keep you distant for others. Build social skills and start loving people.
- Challenge: Difficulties will always happen. Take them with joy and as a learning process. Challenges will strengthen your team.
- Integrity: Being honest and consistent in your values and morals are true qualities of a leader.
- Vision: Where there is no vision the people perish. Proverbs 29:18 There has to be a target or goal bigger than ourselves to keep us in the right path. No vision equals a man shooting a gun at the mall with a blind fold. People are going to get hurt.
- Persistence: This quality will keep you coming back no matter how many times you fail.
- Failure: I have failed a billion times and because of these failures I grow an even wiser leader. This is a key catalyst to success.
- Action: Physical movement towards our goal will make your vision a lot more attainable than just talking about it. Shoot procrastination in the face and become a walker not a talker.
- Survivor: The enemy is always trying find ways to thwart our plans which can affect us mentally, emotionally and physically. Most folks give up easily and quit. Find ways to keep you motivated. Be a survivor.
- Motivation: Without motivation growth will never come to you or your team. Make sure your vision serves others and is big enough to keep your people moving forward.
- Discipline: When motivation likes to take a breather you need discipline to take over. Discipline will keep everything in the right path when you feel unmotivated and walk off the path.
- Great Communicator: One word, ” Clarity”. Clear communication with your team is crucial. Always speak about the vision clearly so everyone can stay in the right path.
- Humility: Don’t let arrogance creep right in when things are going so well. Humility keeps you grounded and unselfish.
- Music Lover: This a no brainer.
- Musically Educated: I have met many music directors that don’t know a lick about music theory but are excellent musicians. But, I guarantee you if they did, they would be amazing! Keep educating yourself and your value will increase.
- Management Skills: Knowing how to manage and work with others is definitely a skill that’s needs to be learned. I have horror stories.
- Creative: Be different and unique, don’t follow the pack, create your own ideas and music. Then you’ll stand out in front of everyone.
- Embrace Change: Humanity hates change and that is the reason why most never accomplish their goals. We have to change with the times and utilize new ideas in order to grow. Hurry before you miss the train.
- Decisiveness: Great leader take time to make proper educated decisions. Decisions in haste is a waste.
- Prepared: Order and preparation is a the key to winning the battle. Without prep time and training we’re gonna get blown up.
- Teacher: Having the heart of a teacher is a great attribute. Train your team and leaders will follow.
- Patience: Sometimes frustration gets the best of us when an issue gets in our way. We need to learn to wait but train daily so when the time comes we are prepared.
- Listener: When opportunity or problems loom in the horizon our ears need to be attentive to address the event.
- Musical Ear: A good ear will help identify musical issues or even creative ideas. Also it will help tighten your team musically.
- Commitment: Are you in or are you out? That’s all I got to say.
- Positive Attitude: Yes, problems will happen. A great attitude will keep the environment positive and uplifting and in the right direction.
- Focus: Distractions suck! A great director knows how set aside a time and space where no outside irritations will put a wrench in their progress.
- Security Delegation: Knowing when to release some power to others is a sign of trust and great leadership.
- Generosity: Serving others is what it’s all about. Selfishness brings people down and unselfishness nurtures others.
- Problem Solver: This quality comes with experience. When issues occur you know what to do. Or don’t you?
- Team Player: A great music director works well with others and when something is asked of him or her there is no hesitation to get thing done.
Wow, that’s I pretty big list. Many of the qualities listed will take time develop and will not happen over night. Wisdom is a lifelong learning process.
My journey to achieve perfection in all these qualities will never occur due to human nature. But, I can pretty be pretty close.
Please, If I have left out any qualities that you think is missing from my list. Than feel free to list them in the comments below.