The Buckeye Beat
A monthly blog from Michael Ibrahim, Director of the School of Music
"Unboxing a School of Music"
If you happen to spend a lot of time with a child between the ages of five and ten, you are likely familiar with the phenomenon of kids watching toy unboxing videos. A grown-up version of this dopamine rush might be the doorstep arrival of a package from Amazon or Grubhub. And for a college administrator, there is a parallel thrill in the unboxing of a School of Music.
In preparing for my new role over the past couple weeks, I feel as though I’ve ripped off the ribbon, torn away the gift wrapping, and I find myself grinning (and pinching myself) over the Timashev Family Music Building. Its spaces are modern and fresh. The hall and rehearsal spaces sound resonant and clear, the teaching areas are full of natural light and beautiful campus views, and there are plenty of common areas to simply be around others. What a stunning and impressive gift from the Timashev Family to The Ohio State University, to the field of music, and to generations of music students to come.
West facade of the Timashev Family Music Building.
But wait — there is more.
This gift appears to be a matryoshka — a nested doll — with layers to crack open. After all, a School of Music is more than the building, the classrooms and halls where it lives and breathes. After opening the building doors, I can clearly see the devoted staff preparing, planning and problem-solving with warmth and a lively sense of humor. Cracking open the next layer, I see faculty creating an inspiring learning environment. And I already hear and see students enjoying the Youth Summer Music Programs — students studying flute, saxophone, leadership and jazz; with happy campers in the form of bassists, oboists, bassoonists and marching band students soon to arrive in the weeks to come.
Outside of the building, I am thankful to continue to open further nested gifts, meeting with faculty and staff for coffee and lunch — free of any pixels, audio delays or robotic stutters. Additionally, discovering for my first time the arts community of Columbus, developing an understanding of the School of Music’s history and traditions, collaborating with music colleagues and college partners to the further the school’s inclusion efforts, and being uplifted by the vision and support from the college and university leadership.
Each layer is truly a gift to open with curiosity and excitement. While I don’t expect to be able to follow in the footsteps of Ryan Kaji, the world’s most successful toy unboxer on YouTube, I hope that this blog will capture and share my enthusiasm as I unbox more facets of the School of Music at The Ohio State University.