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Where words fail, music speaks. (Hans Christian Anderson) 

A Must Read

A few weeks ago, I read The Pepper Effect by Sean Gaillard. After reading Gaillard’s book,  I gained a new perspective on how I can do things differently to achieve the impossible. The book helped me to think like I am in a band.  Even more importantly, by collaborating with author Sean Gaillard, an incredibly passionate leader, I have become a bandmate. As I read The Pepper Effect and began interacting with Sean Gaillard, I think about the fact that I need to add more music to my day. Music usually makes things better! There is something about how music fills a space, makes life more exciting, connects people, provides a pathway for memories and helps people find focus on what matters, and these are the things that make it worth using in the classroom. After reading The Pepper Effect, I realized how much more of an impact I can make with music as a regular part of my classroom and embracing being in a band represents.  

Many great memories include music

When I think back to some of my first dance recitals, songs: Puttin' On The Ritz by Taco, and Eye of the Tiger by Survivor come to mind. When I think about family vacations, Neil Diamond comes to mind. When I did precalculus homework in high school,I had to find a way to keep my mind focused and not get distracted, so I cranked up the classical music and got to work. Not only did I do well in the course, but found a new appreciation for Beethoven and Mozart. When I hear classical music,I am always taken back to 1997 and remember what it felt like to really enjoy embracing the challenge of new material.  

When I think about my experience studying in Mexico, every time I hear songs by Ricki Martin or Enrique Inglesias, who were popular in both countries at the time, I cannot help but be transported to a club in Guadalajara. And then there’s Chicago. When I first started dating my husband, I noticed that he had a CD by the group Chicago in his car. Music connected us. Listening to the Bugle PlayTaps at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington Cemetery made an impact bigger than any words could have spoken. Today, whether it be a song from a vacation we took or a song I listened to often when my kids were born, music is magical and provides a path for me to remember some of the wonderful things that have happened in life. The Pepper Effect by Sean Gailliard reminds me of how powerful music is and what it means to be a Bandmate. 

The Beatles

Author Sean Gaillard references The Beatles throughout this work. He is super passionate about showcasing how the impossible can become possible. Gaillard talks about how he even taped a picture to his desk of the reunited Beatles to remind him that anything was possible. His suggestion is to find something that symbolizes that the impossible can become possible. He made it clear that no matter the setbacks and failures that The Beatles faced, the band was unwilling to let anything hinder the pursuit of their dreams. It is by using the Beatles’ narrative that Gaillard explains how schools can be really great! 

What is the Pepper Effect? 

The Pepper Effect has a clear mission that is stated several times throughout the book. It is a mission that can be applied to so many areas of life and really makes sense for education today! 

The Pepper Effect in 4 Steps

  1. Believe in your vision. 
  2. Believe in your masterpiece.
  3. Believe in your collaborators. 
  4. Ignore the naysayers. 

Sean Gaillard explains how the Beatles created and recorded Sgt. Pepper without being bound by limits. He says that when he walks into a school, he wholeheartedly believes that each student has the potential to be a future innovator. Like The Beatles, we need to consider being open to the best idea regardless of who shares it. One of Gaillard’s essential questions is, “Do you walk away from a proven formula for success, wealth, and adulation to embrace individual or collective growth?” Far too often, we subscribe to the tried and proven. 

Add More Music

Unfortunately, I did not pursue learning an instrument as I was growing up. When I listen to my kids practice their instruments at home, I am jealous of their ability. I recently decided that even though it would be challenging and might feel near impossible, I want to learn how to play the violin. As I thought about learning an instrument at 41 years old and doubt crept in, I asked my ten-year-old daughter, an aspiring percussion player, if she thought I could learn an instrument at this stage in my life. Fortunately, I have raised a no-excuse, go-getter girl who assured me that she thinks it is possible for me to learn an instrument. She said that even though I don’t know music yet, I know how to learn, and am good at that.  

I feel Something Wonderful is about to happen. 

After reading The Pepper Effect and watching author Sean Gaillard in action celebrating Monday on social media, I cannot help but be excited to consider the mindset,“Believe something wonderful is about to happen”. I was so taken by this idea that I even posted this quote on my computer in my classroom. Music helps with a positive mindset. It reminds students that they are connected, safe, can take risks, and are part of something really big!

Music Is Bold And Inspires Action

When I think about the masterpiece I am crafting in the classroom, Sean Gaillard has helped me think like I am in a band, seek out other people who are inspired to collaborate, and share innovation opportunities. 

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