Most Saturday mornings I drive about 25 miles to Crystal Lake, Illinois, where I play in a music group. This group, the Cor Corps, is made up only of French horns. The only requirement for membership is that you must play the French horn. We have members from high school through to retired folks. We have some very fine players and people who are returning to their instrument after many years of not playing. We play all kinds of music from classical to jazz to show tunes to rock. The best thing about being in this group is that it's a ton of fun.
I have played in groups where the players don't get along, or where a few people hog all the fun parts. I have even played in groups where backstabbing happened. In groups like that you might play wonderful music and it might even sound good, but it isn't fun to be with the people in the group. The Cor Corps is different. The better players encourage others. People who want to push themselves to try something new, something that's hard for them, are encouraged and given opportunities.
Another important aspect of this group is we have fun together. We joke, we kid others. There's a lot of laughing at rehearsals. Together we have created a positive, safe place with a purpose - to play music.
Sometimes I need to remind my students that before they say something they should ask themselves, "Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary?" Being kind is always the best choice in the end, for kids and adults and for both sides of the kindness. It may seem obvious, but it doesn't always happen.