With over 2,000 entries, this blog is a pretty lengthy response to its title: “Confessions of a Traveling Music Teacher.” When really all I need to confess is this:
I love this work.
It fits me like nothing else I can imagine and it’s extraordinary that World has agreed to the deal. I always seem to have just enough work to keep me learning how to do it better, to enjoy it as a welcome change from the daily round at school, to make people’s day just a little bit more joyful, more interesting, more affirming, more challenging, more thought-provoking, more fun. Today it was 15 music teachers from in and around the Flemington (New Jersey) School District doing their professional development day. While their colleagues were yawning through Powerpoints, they were rhythmically beating their bodies, playing some hot jazz, creating dances with their colleagues, unleashing their child-like selves playing Miss Mary Mack and Criss Cross Applesauce and other great standards of my repertoire. Yesterday another group of 30 or so gathered with me at The New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark to do the same and with the same delight and energy.
I myself never get tired of the 25 to 50 workshop warhorses I’ve cultivated over the years, always making slight changes, including one five minutes before today’s workshop that worked beautifully. I love sharing my own child-like exuberance, zany humor, gentle encouragement and when I do get up on the soapbox to make my far-ranging and serious social, cultural and political connections and comments, the group is primed to listen in an impressive way. Not to necessarily agree, but to consider and understand how a point they might take issue with makes a different kind of sense in the context of the game they just played.
Like I said. I love this work.
The weather in my old home state is summery, which the locals are loving after what sounds like a brutal winter and early Spring. After today’s workshop, I wandered around historic downtown Flemington, found a good bookstore, had a simple good meal, set on a bench in the shade and finished by Philip Roth book Indignation which begins in Newark, New Jersey. I have an uncharacteristically long day tomorrow before by 4:30 pm flight. Can’t remember why I did this and am regretting it after discovering my daughter decided to visit with the grandchildren and I’ll miss five potential hours of the short visit! But meanwhile, have the thought of going to Watchung Reservation where I used to wander around with Walden in hand as a teenager. Also the scene of some teenage make-out sessions in the back of Tracy Cunningham’s Volkswagen. (Tracy, whatever happened to you?) But not prepared to get to that level of confession!
So I’ll leave it at that. Simply grateful for this work and the people so happy to receive it.