This summer, I made the very difficult decision to leave the Colburn School.
Below is an open letter to all the students and families from the Jumpstart Young Musicians Program.
Dear Students and Parents,
Some of you have heard that I have accepted an offer outside of Colburn, and will not be returning for the 2018–2019 academic year.
I wish the timing had worked out such that I could let you know in person, but I’m writing now as the next best way to personally share my thoughts with you.
Where to start?
I’ve been dreading having to write this letter. It’s been a bittersweet time of celebration and nostalgia for me. But by far, the hardest part of this decision has been the thought of having to say goodbye to the students of JYMP. The recent outpouring of messages and letters has been overwhelming. You know I love you like my own kids, and will continue to do so.
In that spirit, while difficult, I hope you’ll be supportive and happy for me as I continue this next step of my journey.
The past 5 years serving as the Director of the Jumpstart Young Musicians Program have been among the most fulfilling in my career as a teacher.
In that time, we’ve built a program from the ground up, beginning in 2012 with 35 complete beginners in one band, to where we finished in Spring 2018: 3 large ensembles, 7 Chamber Ensembles, 100+ students, a team of 20+ expert Teaching Artists — teaching and learning how to play their instruments in weekly ensemble, small group, and private lessons.
To look back and think about where we started, still leaves me in awe.
The first thing I’d like to say is, “Thank you.” It has been an honor and a privilege to work with you. For our oldest members, I’ve known you for 1/3 of your lives. I’ve watched you grow up right in front of my eyes.
While you may have thought I was spending my days teaching you, you were actually teaching me — how to be a better teacher, musician, and person.
I never knew I would love to teach this much. I would take 1,000 moments of struggle to experience even one of the many successes I saw our JYMP students and teachers achieve every week. Who knew so much joy could come from a perfect breath, beautiful tone, or a note played perfectly in tune?
In many ways, you’ve also helped me become a better parent. While I joked with you about the additional gray hairs that have been added to my head over the years, seeing your willingness to work hard, push yourself, and mature as young musicians — I have discovered a new level of fulfillment as a teacher —thank you.
Just as I stress the importance of your growth and development as a student and musician, teachers must do the same.
This new job I’ve accepted takes things I’m passionate about, e.g. teaching, creating, collaborating, etc., and combines it with my other endeavors in video, original content, and entrepreneurship. It’s merging multiple types of work into one focus, into a position where I think I can create significant impact.
You may remember me sharing how I tend to experience intense periods of growth in 4–5 year increments. While I’d be very grateful to continue in a role that allows for growing JYMP and strengthening ties within Colburn, the work I’m now pursuing is outside of a pure teaching role.
It’s an opportunity to experience further personal growth and develop a number of new skills. If there’s something I continue to learn time and time again, it’s that in order to experience growth, you have to push out into the unknown. Reaching beyond what’s comfortable is a good launching point for discovering the new.
I’ll be sharing more on this, but please know that I’m incredibly excited how this work can help many students in the future. The impact you’ve had on me will directly affect the work that goes into helping other students.
The students and families of JYMP are the heart of the program.
There will be a period of transition, but I know everyone involved — program members, students leaders, parents, teachers, and the new director, will continue to build upon the culture and work we’ve created the past 5 years.
It is up to you to share the values we’ve created for what it means to be a JYMP student. Our ABC’s (attitude, behavior, commitment); pay attention, work hard, try your best; show up on time, practice everyday, uplift the people around you, do the right thing; (insert your favorite life lesson here) — all these seeds that have been planted in you to help you achieve — use them to better yourself in all aspects of your life, inside and outside of Colburn.
The values that have comprised the culture of JYMP will act as the foundation for you to continue building the program. Honor the program by serving your peers.Thank your parents and teachers. Live up to and exceed each other’s expectations.
Even when things get busy with school, friends, life in general, and you think you might stop playing…don’t. Don’t stop. Keep playing.
Stay in Touch
One of the greatest joys of teaching is hearing from my students who have long graduated and parted ways from my classroom.
Please stay in touch and update me as you continue into the world and do great things. If I can ever be of any help, don’t hesitate to let me know.
I will continue to publish blogposts, teaching videos, educational materials, and my podcast on all social media platforms. If you ever need to reach me, just visit my website https://hueiyuanpan.com/contact. I’m always happy to help however I can.
It’s been an honor and a privilege. Wishing you a fruitful and meaningful year of music making and personal fulfillment. I am so proud of you.
Much love always 🙂
August 13, 2018
Los Angeles, CA