“The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why you were born.” -Mark Twain
It’s Day 7 of teaching Level III at the San Francisco International Orff Certification Course. I go to bed late each night after jazz-jamming in the theater and spring out of bed early eager to leap into the day that lies ahead. Every day I teach— especially Level III at this course or Jazz at my own course or the next course in Turkey or Thailand or Toronto—I bow to the altar of gratitude and renew my amazement that I stumbled into a life that fits me so perfectly. I agree with Mr. Twain, but it’s not just one day that I discovered why I was born, it’s each and every day I’m blessed with opportunity to keep doing this work. And that includes the 7,000 days or so I’ve taught kids at The San Francisco School.
But this work with adults runs a bit deeper. “All of me, why not take all of me? Can’t you see, I’m no good without you…” sings the jazz song we played last night and there you have it. This work uses every ounce of me and gathers everything I’ve ended up caring about into a glorious multi-colored dreamcoat. The teacher training transposes the work with kids to a higher level of reflection and deeper level of participation of fusing mind, body, heart and soul. It’s one thing to meet kids at their level of fresh joy and joyful freshness, but in-between their astounding observations and delightful innocence are booger-jokes and tantrums and whining. My inner child is alive and well and happy to frolic in the fields with three-year olds, but there is also an outer adult who needs more elevated conversation. Or at least more sophisticated booger jokes and more subtle tantrums and whining. And so off I go to pay my bills with a clapping game and a song about bananas, followed by the historical, theoretical, psychological and mythological look at what happens when the V chord falls into the arms of the I chord and how and when and why.
And that is why I was born.