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And thank you for joining me for “Find Your Forte”! Each week, I’ll be interviewing successful choral directors, giving you an inside view of their accomplishments, failures, lessons learned, as well as actionable advice that will help you “step up to the podium with purpose” each day! That podium may be the one you use to conduct your high school choir. It may represent your classroom, where you affect the lives of children six periods a day. It could be that lecture hall you step into for classes in your college or university, or something totally different. Any way you slice it, if you’re listening now, you’ve come to what promises to be an AMAZING place!
One of my favorite success quotes is by business philosopher, Jim Rohn. It says, “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”. Well guess what? You and I are going to be hanging out with some of the best choral directors our world has to offer; not to mention, our occasional guests in the world of self-improvement, health, fitness, entrepreneurship, relationships, and a lot more! So, we are definitely off to a good start! Prepare to be inspired!
Let’s dive in to our interview flow, so you know what’s in store! I’ve designed each interview to last 25-35 minutes in length, beginning with the appropriately named “Downbeat” segment! In the “Downbeat” we will learn a bit about our guests, then delve into their biggest successes, failures, light bulb moments, and takeaways from each.
Find Your Forte
After the “Downbeat”, we’ll hop into what I know will be an incredible segment of each episode. It’s called “Your Forte!”, named after the podcast itself. In this second segment, the guest will share something that they’re good at and give you, the listener, some insight on how they’ve been able to implement this strength to step up to the podium with purpose! This may be something like programming a great concert, rehearsal flow, developing warm-up exercises for changing voices, or something non-musical like the perfect morning routine. I know our listeners will get tremendous value from the insight of each and every guest.
The third and final section called the “Accelerando”, I’ll be tossing out more rapid fire questions looking for responses of about a minute each. Examples of these questions are things like: What project are you most excited about right now? What advice do you have for your younger self? In your opinion, what do you believe makes an outstanding conductor/educator? Walk us through your morning routine. What was your most favorite concert you’ve attended? What is favorite personal growth or music book?
Finally, I’m gonna ask a doozy of a question, so get ready for amazing answers! “If you had only one concert left in your lifetime, a choir with limitless ability, and access to a sold-out concert venue of your choosing, where would your final concert be and what would be the last piece be on that program?”
How amazing is it to finally have a place to get to dialogue with such amazing people? I’m incredibly excited!
Why I chose to create “Find Your Forte”
Now that you know how the show works, I’ll explain a little bit about why I chose to create it. “Find Your Forte” is a project that stems from my greater purpose in life, and something I think about regularly. My personal passion for choral music, teaching children, and my experience with music entrepreneurship has lead me to create a comfortable and fulfilling career through “creating beyond the classroom” in areas where my job as a middle school choir director lacked musically or financially. So my greater life purpose is to use my energy and love of music to inspire and motivate others to “find their forte” and “step up to the podium with purpose” each day, in order to live the life of their dreams.
Why a podcast, you ask? Well… I have to say, I’ve been listening to podcast for the last year-and-a-half on my commute to and from my job as a middle school choral director, and pretty much whenever I get in the car. To put things in perspective for you, I drive over 20k miles per year. By my calculations, just on my professional commute, I listen to over 200 hours of podcasts per school year! And I’m not even counting my recreational time in the car on the weekends.
Since I began listening to podcasts, I’ve found that podcasters are people who love to help others and create tremendous value for their listening audience. They’ve found a great way to build a platform around something they’re are passionate about, by reaching other like-minded people to be audience members in their niche. Great dialogues begin on the host’s blog or social network pages, and problems have been solved, and lives changed for the better. Podcasters are a network of givers, to a passionate audience that was built on trust!
Now, I should probably give you a little background about myself! I’m Ryan Guth, a teacher, music entrepreneur, and self-proclaimed nut. As the son of two musicians, I was always surrounded by great music. And it was usually coming from the piano downstairs. My father, a pianist/vocalist, and now full-time bagpiper would sit me on his lap while he played the preludes of Chopin or Gershwin. My mom is a church organist and choir director who worked with a great number of churched while I was growing up. I joke that every time she got a new job, I changed religions! Having resisted music for most of my young life, I spent a number of years studying martial arts. In fact, the only reason I joined choir in 9th grade was because my girlfriend was in choir and this was another excuse to be in her presence! I found that I enjoyed it a lot and continued for the rest of my high school career. l, myself, started directing choirs (and getting paid for it) at a local when I was 17 years old, after coming back from Westminster Choir College’s amazing High School Vocal Institute program. While I was there, I fell in love with the school and eventually continued on to study Westminster (which happens to be, no-so-coincidentally, the alma mater of both of my parents) and got the chance to study music with some incredibly amazing people (many of which will be guests on this show very soon)! If you don’t know much at Westminster, you should learn more It’s a fabulous place!
Since graduating, I’ve jam-packed my life with as much musical activity as possible (allowing me to accomplish a lot in a short period of time), from working day-in-and-day-out as a middle school choir and bell choir director in a relatively affluent town in NJ, starting and running a successful music education company called VoiceWorksNJ (employing 6 at its height), seeing my teen bell choir appear the Today Show after their video of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” went viral on YouTube, lecturing at Westminster on music entrepreneurship, not to mention being featured as a success story on their homepage for almost a year now, teaching nineteen 8th graders to sing Eric Whitacre’s “A Boy and a Girl” (a feat that I was would be pulled off), singing as a soloist for a myriad of choral-orchestral concerts, presenting nationally for the Handbell Musicians of America, and a bunch of other things that I’m sure you’ll find out about eventually!
Now, I don’t say this to toot my horn. (Yeah, okay Ryan…) No really!!! I say it because all of the opportunities I’ve had in the past several years since graduation have been products of actions that I’ve taken and my inability to sit and wait for opportunity. Akin to the qualities of the guests you are about to hear from, success comes from doing what others won’t do, practicing harder and better, and generally taking the bull by the horns and making it happen.
I’m glad you’re here!
I know inside all of my listeners (current and future), my blog subscribers, and students is a passionate musician that is burning to take the world head-on and live the life of their dreams. Sometimes you just need that shot in the arm and a little encouragement! Well…You’ve found it. I believe in you, and I’m here for you! You CAN do anything you want if you truly believe it and take action. I’m proud to be in your network and help in any way I can! You may ALWAYS reach out to me on my site, www.ryanguth.com and share an inspiring story or a person you think my audience would benefit from hearing on the show!
Lastly, be sure to hit that subscribe button in iTunes, Stitcher, or whatever you use to access this show AND leave a review on iTunes (5 stars would be AMAZING).