Usually I describe the beginning of school as putting my shoulder to the wheel of the year and pushing its heavy weight, straining to get it rolling. This year it was like a gentle nudge from my finger. Two days of meetings, three days with kids and it’s rolling and I’m loving the ride. First classes with 5-year-olds, 4thgrade, 6thgrade and 8thgrade and each one a jewel. The double pleasure of having yet again 4 wonderful Interns to witness, enjoy, participate and contribute.
Today they asked me which was my favorite age and I said, as I often say, “3-year-olds and 8thgrade.” But then quickly added, “Well, I’ve really grown to love the 5-year-olds and 4thgrade is great and I enjoyed 6thgrade today and though I haven’t taught them in a while, I’ve always loved 1stand 3rd. And then there’s the 4-year-olds and 2nd and 5thgrade." In short, I love them all. After all these years, I’ve finally figured out the kinds of things that hit them where they live and isn’t that part of the trick, to find the dignity and delight of each developmental stage?
Musically as well as in other ways. Truth be told, we—the 5-year olds and I—composed a piece based on their names and it was as musically satisfying as the Bach Partita I started the day with. I did a similar name game with 4thgrade with percussion instruments and had to grab my camera to video a particular tasteful combination of rhythms and instruments. I got the 8thgrade grooving on my Boom Chick a Boom beginner’s jazz piece and 20-minutes into their first formal jazz experience with me, they were deep in the groove. And when an Intern and his friend pulled out their saxophones and started soloing over the top, the kids were as lifted up as I was—"Dang! 20 minutes and we sound great!!!!”
Our first elementary singing time with 100 kids had many goose-bump moments and wasn’t it so joyful to be back at preschool singing? Yes, it was! And then ended the week as I do when I’m in the school rhythm—a glorious hour of music at the Jewish Home for the Aged where I’ve found the perfect things for that age.
Truth be told, I’m having a little “buyer’s remorse” announcing my retirement in June. Why would I ever leave this? Should I reconsider? Well, one day at a time. Meanwhile, gratitude abounds. On to the weekend!