By Patty Chung, SHARE! National Office
Orchestra conductor Benjamin Zander was known to be a stern and demanding leader but twenty years into his career he experienced a turning point. He realized that the conductor is the only person in the orchestra that doesn’t make a sound but he/she has great power. This power can either be controlling and threatening which results in fear and anxiety in a musician, or be life-giving by making the musician powerful. This powerful musician has the ability to release the beauty, energy and passion of the music within him/her. This awakening of possibilities in the artist breaks through the barriers within themselves and between one another.
When our exchange students arrive, they will experience a gamut of emotions--from excitement and anticipation to worry and loneliness--especially during the first month or so. We cannot control their feelings but we can affirm them and open them to the possibility of life in an American home, the passion of school activities or the beauty of the American landscape. We can encourage our students by reminding them there are positive possibilities in most any situation, even the negative ones. They will be empowered to break through barriers and build lasting relationships and fully experience an extraordinary cultural exchange year.