Picture this – I was chilling with my old crew, and we were talking about our teenage years. You know, the times when we did crazy things like blowing up my Dad’s grill with black powder. Ah, good times! 

Anyway, we moved on to reconnecting with our high school rivals on social media. And guess what? We realized that we had more in common  with some of them than we thought. My friend even said, “I was in unfriending mode when I looked at this person’s profile and discovered that they believed all the same things I believe. How could we not have been friends in high school?”

It hit me like a ton of bricks – why do we need to agree on everything to be friends? We can have different opinions and still get along, right? We’re not politicians!

To explain, I imagined an orchestra. What if the piccolo players refused to play unless everyone else in the orchestra played only the brightest and highest of notes? Or if the tuba section refused to play unless everyone else played only the lowest and darkest of notes? What if the strings went silent, refusing to play unless every note was produced by bowing or plucking and the winds unfriended all whose sounds weren’t blown or the percussionists refused to create music unless all tones were beaten?

But the truth is, each instrument has its own unique sound that adds to the magic of the music. And if we all played the same notes in the same way, at the same time, in the same register, the result wouldn’t be music at all. It would be Fox News! (Feel free to insert CNN if that works better for you!)

Sadly, this orchestra metaphor mirrors our world today. We’re divided, and we tend to cancel those who don’t think like us. But what if we celebrated our differences instead of using them to separate ourselves? What if we used our diversity to make something beautiful?

That’s why I’m a big believer in music and theatre classes for kids. These classes teach children collaboration and problem-solving soft-skills that they’ll use their whole lives. They learn that each voice and instrument is important and valuable, just like each person.

And when kids learn to work together and celebrate their differences, they become confident, resourceful, creative, and resilliant! They learn to think outside the box and find new solutions to problems. They become leaders who inspire others.

If you have a kiddo who is drawn toward music and the performing arts, I encourage you to find a place to get them into music and theatre classes, where they can set the stage for soft-skills success for the rest of their lives. Because when we work together, anything is possible.

So, let’s celebrate our differences and embrace the unique melodies that we each bring to the table. And while we’re at it, I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shoutout to Pickering Creative Artists Academy. If you want to be a part of a community that inspires, challenges, and encourages you, check us out! Plus, I hear they take a fair and balanced approach to music, performing arts, and entertainment education! 

Michael Pickering