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Life-Long Learning - More Than a Cliché

by Beth Malovance

Back when I was a college student and working toward my teaching certificate, it seemed like almost every teacher stressed the importance of being a “life-long learner”. At the time, I’m pretty sure I internally rolled my eyes and thought, “How cliché can that buzzword be?” but now I’ve come to realize that many of the successful artists and teachers are, in fact, life-long learners.

When you’re young, you understand the need to continue learning and developing your skills, but often it seems that this desire fizzles out at some point. Perhaps that is because we have gotten older, or we feel as though we should already be experts because we are the instructors.

In my role at Territorial Headquarters, I am one of the Bandmasters for the Territorial Youth Band, and I am also the Deputy Bandmaster at my corps, Norridge Citadel. I recently attended a Conducting Symposium at Missouri State University. Even though I am already in positions of music leadership, this experience was very fruitful for me, providing me with constructive feedback to continue honing my craft. Through the instructor's guidance I was able to gain new insights and tools to help me in my conducting roles. This is a good reminder that even though I am involved in mentoring roles, I still needed to be mentored as well.

Scripture tells us in 2 Peter 1:3-10, that

“His divine power has given us everything we need to experience life and to reflect God’s true nature through the knowledge of the One who called us by His glory and virtue. Through these things, we have received God’s great and valuable promises, so we might escape the corruption of worldly desires and share in the divine nature. To achieve this, you will need to add virtue to your faith, and then knowledge to your virtue; to knowledge, add disciples; to discipline, add endurance; to endurance, add godliness; to godliness, add affection for others as sisters and brothers; and to affection, at last, add love. For if you possess these traits and multiply them, then you will never be ineffective or unproductive in your relationship with our Lord Jesus the Anointed; but if you don’t have these qualities, then you will be nearsighted and blind, forgetting that your past sins have been washed away. Therefore, brothers and sisters, work that much harder to confirm that God has called you and claimed you. If you do this, then you will never fall along the way.”

Every word and deed we do should be for the Lord, and he has called us to level up. If we choose to honor God, then we must continue to study his word and multiply our gifts as He calls us to do. God has blessed me with music, and I chose to honor him on my journey as a life-long learner. What gifts have you been blessed with? In what ways can you continue to hone and multiply your skills? One positive to come out of daily life during a pandemic is the accessibility to everything through technology. Seek out courses, tutorials, instructional videos, reading materials, lessons and instructors, and online platforms to guide you. I’d encourage everyone to strive for growth and the desire to keep leveling up. To God be the Glory!


Beth Malovance joined the Territorial Music & Creative Arts Ministries Department in 2017. Before she came to work for The Salvation Army, Beth served as an elementary general music teacher. In addition to helping develop and teach the elementary music curriculum, Beth led the choir and world drumming ensembles, taught guitar, ukulele, Orff and auxiliary percussion instruments and directed full musical performances on a yearly basis. Read more...

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