The Key of G

One of the projects I’ve worked on recently was a little different than what I am used to. I was asked to make a “commercial” to help promote our county’s new strategic plan. And as it turns out, it needed a soundtrack.

I had recently seen a promotional video for a new app for the iPad that used a soundtrack I loved, by the pianist/composer Nils Frahm. I kept visualizing my ideas with his soundtrack. But even though I owned the album, I didn’t have the rights to use the music without permission.

After capturing footage and working with a script that was mostly written by one of our assistant superintendents, I felt that the original song was too intense. So I set about to create something myself. Coming up with the music was interesting. I worked out some harmonies I liked on the piano, and then set about to make a repetitious pattern, and recorded several “takes” of it. This was one of takes (MP3).

I had a lot of fun making the video, to be honest, but it did take a lot of time. We had the fortune of collaborating with John Ogle from WCVE news to record the narration, which gives the whole thing a little professional edge that it might not otherwise have.

The reason I wanted to share this experience is because I was deeply involved in the process of deciding what to promote about our schools, and doing so was a very helpful exercise. It forced us to decide what was important. We had just come off of an intense exercise of developing a strategic plan that we actually plan to follow, with bold goals for ourselves. But most of all, I’m proud of what the video represents. Because even if I had nothing to do with production of the video, or even working where I do, the “pitch” works for me. I’m really happy that we’ve made the decisions to focus our energy where we have, and to do what we have planned to do.

Throughout music history, there’s been examples of composers who have attributed a “feeling” to certain keys in music. There’s several reasons for explaining why a piece written or played in a different key might have a different character, but for the purposes of this post, I chose the key of G. Both G major and minor are favorites of mine, and they feel comfortable in the hand on a keyboard. And, come on, our logo is a “G.”

So far, this video has not been shared widely outside of Goochland, primarily in sessions we’re using with staff to “kick off” the strategic plan. In helping to create and promote this plan, I have learned a great deal about how to write a plan (there are no doubt ways of writing a plan that go beyond the methodology we used). If you find yourself in a similar situation soon, seek out a “guru” or two who can lead you through the process. While we had a guide, we mostly did it ourselves, basing the process on a set of values and beliefs. Now the most important process remains, in developing the tactics which will become our day-to-day steps in getting it all done. Our major goals include:

  1. Goal 1: To maximize each student’s academic potential through engaging experiences and deeper learning, preparing our students for the challenges of learning and working in the modern global economy
  2. Goal 2: To improve the climate of our organization and create opportunities for meaningful stakeholder engagement
  3. Goal 3: To maximize resources for instruction by providing safe, efficient, and transparent operations for all stakeholders while effectively managing our facilities and programs
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