If someone asked me what the most important task and consistent challenge for my work as a music conductor is, I would say "listening" during each rehearsal and performance.  There are many things to learn and equip myself with to be a better music director, such as working hard on copies of music, developing communication skills, and finding more and more repertories of fine music.  But, if there's one most important fact, which distinguishes ordinary music directors from excellent ones, it's the ability to listen, I believe. 

Sometimes, I am amazed when I find myself listening much more accurately during performances than rehearsals.  I say to myself then, "If I could listen and locate choir members' mistakes on pitches and rhythms like now in rehearsal, the choir would be much better right now! " 

What makes these things happen?  I think during performances, my sense of listening becomes much more sensitive, and more importantly, I shouldn't have to try to analyze the problems and remember them to fix later that much compare to rehearsal time.  If I can focus on listening during each rehearsal like I do during service or concerts, I could be a much better music conductor and teacher for sure.

Is this listening ability a key for success for musicians only?  Many experts on business say
good listening can also help for better customer service and leadership at work.  It's the key element for every relationship in our routine lives too. Finally, it's also needed for a relationship between God and us.  

Once,  a newspaper reporter asked mother Teresa, when she was coming out from a long time of praying, what she asked God .  She said, "I didn't say anything.  I just kept listening to God."  The reporter asked again what God said to her.  Mother Teresa replied, "God kept listening to me too." 

I believe that many people these days sacrifice some of their favorite foods or activities during the Lenten period to get closer to God.  I think people are making these efforts because they believe that this is one of the ways to listen to God's voice closely, and I would like to join them.