Thursday, September 12, 2019

The Most Beautiful Music

I’ve heard a lot of beautiful music these past few days. Ahmad Jamal’s concert at SF Jazz, Opera in the Park, some new CD’s I just bought (yes, I still buy CD’s—thank you, Amoeba Records!) But none more beautiful than what I heard this last Tuesday:

15 minutes of me demonstrating to the 8thgraders the new information they needed to move further down the path of understanding and playing blues— and not a single whispered side-conversation or sound from nervous hands or comment on whatever I just said. Just 15 beautiful minutes of rapt silent attention listening as if their lives depended on it. 

As a teacher at a school where children often think what they have to say is much more interesting and important than that which the teacher has spent a lifetime preparing, where the filter between thought and mouth is virtually non-existent and anything you say is occasion for blurting out some random spontaneous association (“Cat Anderson played trumpet?  have a cat!!!!”), where kids born with channel-changing remotes in their hand have trouble focusing on anything for more than 4 seconds, this was indeed a miracle. So often I feel I’m swimming upstream against the current of distraction and I know it wears me down and can be exhausting. What if every class could be like those 15 minutes? Was this a plot to get me to stay another 45 years at school? Or at least 10?

No need to question. Just enjoy it while it lasted. 

And I did. And I told the kids. Who went on to play some fabulous music. 

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