My Musical Matryoshka Doll

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A matryoshka doll is a set of wooden dolls of decreasing size placed one inside another. More commonly known as nesting dolls, a set of matryoshkas typically consists of a wooden figure which separates, top from bottom, to reveal a smaller figure of the same sort inside, which has, in turn, another figure inside of it, and so on. 

The figures inside may be of either gender; the smallest, innermost doll, is typically a child turned from a single piece of wood. The dolls often follow a theme. The themes may vary, but they typically try and tell the story of a family or of a life.

Matryoshkas are used metaphorically as a design paradigm, known as the "matryoshka principle" or "nested doll principle". It denotes a recognizable relationship of "object-within-similar-object" that appears in both man-made objects as well as mother nature (Wikipedia).

Music education is akin to a matryoshka doll. We are programs within a profession: band, choir, orchestra, jazz, and general music. We have Suzuki, elementary, middle school, high school, collegiate, adult, and professional ensembles. We have teachers, performers, therapists, conductors, and yes, leadership trainers. Although we are all different sizes, shapes, and are decorated in different ways, we are part of the same matryoshka doll called music education.

Everyone wants to feel special and unique, myself included. And, if we're being honest, being a music teacher is not exactly hard on the ego. Every day we play to a large and captive audience that is usually willing and wanting to hang on our every word. Well, usually! But rather than celebrate our uniqueness, perhaps we would be better off as a profession if we celebrated our sameness, because, like the matryoshka, all of us have the same final core: a young child willing and wanting to make music.

Have a great week everyone!