Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Day in the Life

My day began with a jolt. Literally. Knocked about in the middle of the night by a 4.0 earthquake. Went back to sleep wondering if I dreamed it and when I got to school, someone asked me about it and I remembered. Always alarming to feel at the mercy of powerful natural forces, but grateful it was just a jolt and nothing more.

Finished the Banana Song with 5th grade and offered a banana to any student who could sing the song while they played it, with good body movement as well. And two could! Next, I Boom chick-a-boomed with 4th grade, got two administrators to join the rotating circle and both witness and participate in the culture of help and the atmosphere of joyful participation. One said, “That whole sequence was so simple it was profound!”

Oh, why o why can’t I give this workshop to anxious parents, misguided policymakers and others who are burdening children with their own fears and strange notions about what’s important? One 45-minute class of Boom Chick-a-Boom might change their point of view and both they and the children would be so much happier. The children at the end recognized that something important had happened, some capacity in them released, some feeling in the room generated and they swarmed up to me at the end shoving pieces of paper at me asking for my autograph. When they couldn’t find paper, they asked me
to autograph their hand.

Normally I have no patience with the cult of celebrity, but I do recognize that we want to be in the orbits of those stars that give off heat and light and catch some of their juju. No ego in it for me, but just pleased that they recognized the energy and wanted a little keepsake to remember the moment. Kind of fun to be a celebrity and not because I was blown up big on a screen with a blaring soundtrack, but because I helped kids discover a musician beyond who they thought they could be.

Off then to a meeting with the music faculty who had been observing classes and a nice chat about the deep ideas behind every moment it each of the 12 classes I had taught. Such a luxury to talk shop with fellow music teachers, both for me and (I hope) for them.

The afternoon was my jazz history shtick in concert/lecture form playing with bass, drums and trombone (one rehearsal yesterday). I’m kind of getting it down, each piece a different style with an engaging story and often different instruments. Over an hour later, the high school jazz band got out their horns and we launched into a version of Soul Sauce, me teaching all parts by ear. Some hot solos and fun way to end.

Tomorrow I begin a two-day course here with teachers from other Asian International Schools. To make a semblance of a break from work between one venue and the other, I’m going out to dinner all by my lonesome and then treating myself to the DVD of Hitchcock’s Rear Window tonight. Still raining out there, but my ever gracious host Stephen lent me a sweatshirt and finally I’m not cold!

Hoping for a jolt-free night and yet another earth-shaking day. 

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