The best part of my days are always those times that I get to be with our students. I love the fact that I can seamlessly go from room to room and engage in conversations, watch in awe as our outstanding educators lead lessons or sit down and take part in the activity as I learn alongside of them. With 38 classes there is always something interesting going on and I marvel at what I learn as I venture from learning environment to learning environment. Most days, it is not until I get home and scroll through Twitter that I get a full picture of the vast experiences that our students are exposed to. Today I started my day by visiting our 3 grade 7 classes and our 3 grade 6 classes. As we excitedly look towards the upcoming school year and all of the possibilities of an extensive strong Arts program, I needed to collect information about instrument choice to ensure that we are making informed decisions about purchases. With my visit to the grade 6 classes, I also took the opportunity to praise them for their resiliency and patience as they have spent the last 2 days in frustration, trying to work their way through the Provincial EQAO assessments, amidst server interruptions. We are hopeful that the platform is stable by Monday as we want our students to share their knowledge and highlight their strengths.
As I started to collect their first and second choices for instruments, we joked about the extensive requests for flutes, and I recalled being in a similar position many years ago when I was in grade 7. I desperately wanted to play the flute, but unfortunately as there were not enough to share, I ended up with the clarinet. I continued to play the clarinet, not only through elementary school, but for 5 years in secondary school. Some of my most memorable experiences in secondary school are connected to my time in the music program. Those early morning rehearsals ~ especially the one that happened the day of the big snowstorm and we ended up being stranded at school for the night. The many performances with our long red skirts and white blouses ~ for those of you who know the intricacies of how the clarinet works, you can appreciate managing the condensation that escapes from the bell while wearing a long red skirt. The trips to New York, Boston and Washington and the close-knit group of friends.
Our conversation then morphed into one about being prepared with a back-up plan and how sometimes things work out even better. Our students were amazed that I could easily recall the names of the 4 girls, in grade 7, who did get to play the flute ~ both their first names and last names. They giggled when they assumed that it was my animosity that fueled my memory. Unbeknownst to them the complexities of short term and long-term memories awaits them as they age. They too, will be able to remember the names of their current friends when they are my age ~ although struggle to remember what someone asked them to do minutes ago…LOL
My wish for our students is that they, too, find joy and a sense of accomplishment as the embark on the first steps of their instrumental music experience. I am excited to be there as they initially learn how to create sounds individually and then blend those sounds to create harmony and music. I am excited for them to experience the thrill of performance. I am excited to see the looks on the faces of our younger students as they sit in the audience and listen to their older peers ~ dreaming of the day that they get to choose their instrument.
In order to make some of these wishes come true, it looks like I am off to purchase a few more flutes. A small price to pay to set the stage for dreams and memories.
What are some of your memories of elementary/secondary school music?
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