This past week I was finally able to vacation off to Orlando to end the summer. Why Orlando? I simply have been dying to go to Disneyworld since I was a kid, Seaworld to meet the dolphins, and, most recently, Harry Potter World to experience the Wizarding World.

I super hyped this trip up in my mind because I literally thought that I was going to experience the magic just by being in those places.

What’s crazy is that I did.

Without going into the extreme detail of how each world was laid out, I felt like the happiest kid in the world at each of these places. At Disneyworld, I heard soundtracks of my favorite movies growing up while seeing what I had only seen in cartoons in reality (not to mention the incredible parades throughout the day and mindblowing fireworks at night… and can I freak out a second about the Mickey Ears that light up TO the fireworks…?!). At Seaworld I saw so many animals live for the first time showing fantastic tricks and also love for the animal trainers. And at Harry Potter World, I was no longer a muggle but instead a Gryffindor Wizard shopping for school supplies in Diagon Alley and exploring Hogsmeade.

How could everything feel so real? How could these imagined places, particularly Disneyworld and Harry Potter World, so perfectly illustrate what I have seen on the screen or read in books, let alone make me feel like an active character in an endless unreal scene? 

I’m not really sure I have an answer, except that the full immersion of being in these “imaginary” worlds was as real as can be. I could be Mickey one minute and Stitch another, or a Quidditch player and then a powerful wizard like Dumbledore. The possibilities were endless, but suddenly I had an environment to explore all of these characters at once.

Tomorrow I start my second official year of teaching elementary school music. You’re right if you think I have an intense music lesson in store for my returning students (~250) and a whole bucket of fresh ideas for my new students (>100), but if anything I just want to leave all life-long learners, which I hope everyone is, with this.

I came up with a 6-word “motivational phrase” of sorts at the start of my first year of teaching:

In pursuit of magic through music!

Putting up this banner was the final touch of my classroom setup today. While I’m not sure what kind of musicians my students will grow into and become, I want to provide an environment where they can explore and pursue whatever it is they are interested in in order to develop themselves as musicians, individuals, and citizens of the world. And flourish at all of those.

I want to create a world of magic, just like Walt Disney and J.K. Rowling. 

In pursuit then.


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