Saturday, September 17, 2016

A Life of Constant Beauty


It just won’t stop. Day after day of uplift, wonder, happy children doing ordinary things that shimmer with excitement and vibrate their way up to extra-ordinary. Four Interns to witness it and my lifelong intuition that human beings are worthy of their incarnation affirmed music class after music class.

In some ways, the details don’t matter. In other ways, the details are all that matters. Each class today made a pedagogical principle real, tangible, concrete. 6th graders who gathered in small groups and arranged so artfully the Chinese song they learned the class before. The 8th graders jumping out of their seats with excitement about how good they sounded playing the blues and searching the halls for an audience. (They got the 8th grade Humanities teacher who smiled throughout the spontaneous performance and commented, “Sexy!”) The other 8th grade group that I threw into the deep end of the pool and they came up swimming. The 5-year olds balancing computer mousepads circles on different body parts while moving to classical music and the hilarious game of freezing if they fell off and moving again when someone else puts the circle back on. (And sometimes in the process, theirs falls off!) 100 kids singing Casey Jones and Chattanooga Choo Choo with verve and vitality and working on a Finnish train song. Twenty 4th graders playing in perfect unison a Slovenian folk song and walking into the cloudy day of the Dorian mode and further into the mystery of the Phrygian. And then this happy music teacher off to the airport to fly to Chicago and teach 100 music teachers about what could be. Summarized in a T-shirt I saw today:

No secret sauce—just hard work.

I’m almost tired of myself trumpeting out the glory of inspired teaching, how it charges the air in every direction. But I say enjoy it while it lasts! There will surely be darker days to come.

On to Chicago!

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