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Invisible Music

Updated: Feb 15, 2023

Even though I do not need another mindless game, I have recently begun to play Heardle, one of the infinite variations to Wordle. (I admit, I also play Worldle.) Heardle is a modern day version of Name that Tune. (Yes, I am old enough to remember Name that Tune.)

The app selects a song and you try to identify it within a certain number of seconds. You can choose to listen to more of the song if you need to. If you cannot name the song after a 16 second clip, you lose. I have been playing for about two months and to my perpetual embarrassment, in that time, I have successfully named three songs, and one was a Christmas carol.

The reason for my failures are obvious: my attention to new pop hits faded when I had children, some 36 years ago. I ruefully admit that I have not even heard of many of the songs or the artists who made them famous. There is an entire catalog of music that is completely invisible to me.

My incompetence in Heardle got me thinking about leadership. Most of our leadership teams skew old--you don’t become a leader without experience. They skew white--white people have had many advantages over the years to rise to leadership. As a result, the people making the major decisions for our schools do not represent large portions of our student and parent bodies.

Much like my invisible catalog of music, the lives of nonwhite and younger parents are hard for even the most conscientious of those leaders to truly understand. Without understanding their experience, making decisions that meet their needs becomes almost impossible.

We hear over and over that having diversity around tables making decisions is critical. I agree. Leaders, particularly older and white leaders, must work hard to hear voices from all constituencies before making decisions. It is the only way to begin to understand the experiences, needs and desires of a different generation.


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