What is your instrument?

Updated: Dec 18, 2018

What does the director of a movie, a ballerina, and a school teacher have in common? No, this isn’t a joke. Let’s add the business owner, the violinist, the minister, the photographer, I’ll even go so far as to add the beef cattle rancher so ubiquitous to the Kansas Flint Hills.

Each of these “roles” has developed an instrument that helps them magnify the creative impulse. The instruments and tools look vastly different, but there is a thread of unity here.

The movie director’s instrument is an immersive world we experience for a couple of hours. We feel sadness, elation, fear, curiosity, and wonder as we relate to story and characters portrayed. The director’s tools are, to name a few, script, actors, lighting, music, CGI, cinematography, and skillful networking of creative people in the effort to bring a production to theater.

The ballerina’s instrument is bodily movement. Graceful leaps communicate joy. Hunched shoulders tell of sadness, falling to the knees imparts desperation. The message we receive is fully enacted through the use of expressive posturing and gestures, and some of the tools are stage, costumes, and venue.

The school teacher’s istrument is mastery over subject matter and skillful presentation, among others. Through these instruments, a teacher can affect the mind and heart of the student. Drawing on tools such as the classroom setting, support of administration and parent involvement, as well as ever-evolving teaching resources, the teacher can influence the student’s learning path for life.

These “roles” we play, the movie director, the ballerina, the school teacher…the Flint Hills beef cattle rancher, and the roles you play…use an overriding instrument to bring something unique into the world. Every person has a special gift to share.

Follow my take on how we develop these instruments. Check in soon to continue with Part 2 of “What is Your Instrument.”

Photo credit Wabaunsee County Historical Society


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