Reflections teaching Orff workshops around the world.
Tuesday, November 12, 2019
We’re into a food theme for my 5-year-old music classes and today they sang and danced my jazz “One Potato” number, then moved to the xylophones to improvise little phrases based on combinations of the plastic food I had in the middle of the circle. Things like:
Bam! Over a simple C and G drone and playing the “yums” on C, you got yourself a nice little piece of music. That you made up. And the others tried to guess. With a “Bluebells Cockleshells” song as the filler between each kids’ composition, well, there you have a nice rondo form piece put together in 5 minutes.
These classes are 30 minutes long, but at the end of the first class, several kids spontaneously commented, “It was too short!!” The next class came in and off we went again and darn if a kid didn’t say at the end, “It was too short!” Which I take to mean, “Hey, this was super-fun and I was just getting in the groove and why do we have to stop just because of two stupid hands on a clock?” Good question!
I’ve had times in my life when the clock ticked so maddeningly slow. Like the last half-hour in my childhood school before summer vacation. Most of the times I’ve had to go to church. Many of my classes in school. The time I went to a celebration of Frau Orff ‘s(Carl Orff’s 4thwife) 80thbirthday quite hungry and suffering from jet lag and sitting through speech after speech. In German. Which I don’t speak. For 3 hours. Near the end, a music group sang a song and they were asked for an encore. Had I a gun, I certainly would have shot the person who requested it. When finally released, I rushed to the food and there were only a few small snacks. Most of them filled with meat. I’m a vegetarian. Now that was torture!
But on the other side, I have sometimes felt like the children today. Deep in the pleasure of something that ends too soon. And still enjoying so profoundly most of the minutes of each and every day, I suspect these could easily be my last words: