News From Masters

Music Teacher Delivers Inspiring TEDx Talk
Posted 12/01/2017 08:00AM

Music Teacher Curt Ebersole delivered an engaging talk about managing and learning from failure at TEDxOeonta earlier this fall. A video of his presentation is now available.

“I chose ‘Framing Failure’ as my topic because I gave a similar presentation as part of the Matters of Spirit program at Morning Meeting in January 2016,” Mr. Ebersole said. “I got such a great reaction from both students and faculty from that talk, and decided to pursue this topic.” 

TEDxOeonta took place at the Foothills Performing Arts Center in Oneonta, NY on September 15. In his talk, Mr. Ebersole shared personal stories about adversity and failure and suggested ways to rethink experiences with failure and recognize how they lead to success.

“My goal was to reach out to people across geographic and interest boundaries, and encourage a culture of valuing process over result,” he said. “By pulling in my own personal stories of adversity and failure, plus core principles of Positive Psychology, I hoped to provide a well-rounded forum to help people accept and learn from their failures as a normal part of life.”

Mr. Ebersole, who was one of eight speakers at TEDxOeonta, said the event “was a tremendous opportunity to explore an angle of teaching in which I have limited experience. For 36 years, almost all of my work has been with ensembles, preparing for performances. I have done very little lecturing, and this was a prime opportunity to develop this area of my experience.”

During his presentation, Mr. Ebersole shared two personal stories to illustrate his points. In one, he spoke of being a young gay man in the 1970s when “the AIDS crisis hit” and he was numbed by the many funerals of friends that he attended.

“I survived a global health crisis,” he said. “And I lived to see the day I got married.”

He also related his difficulties finding work in the music field after earning a master’s degree in conducting. Working as a waiter and then as maître d’ at a Chicago restaurant, he was about to change his career path to restaurant management, when a dean at Northern Valley Regional High School in Old Tappan, NJ “took a chance on me” and hired him as a music faculty member. 

It was a job he remained in for 31 years before retiring in 2015. At that point, he said, Jennifer Carnevale, Chair of the Department of Performing Arts – and a former student of his – “scooped me up out of retirement” by asking him to teach at Masters.


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