I don’t know what made me think, early on and continuing my whole life, that I need to take the world on my shoulders like Atlas, to help carry its weight and someday—or each day—set it down safely in the place it should be. But so it is and has been and more so than ever these days, where every moment that can be a teaching moment is, trying to illuminate what has stayed hidden and move forward what has been stuck. And so I dip into the separate but related fields of mythology, poetry, psychology, child development, history, spirituality, search for the common threads connecting them that reveal the stories lived over centuries that got us here and the ones yet to be lived that can lead us out. It appears that through a lifetime of reading, writing and thinking, I can sometimes articulate what needs to be said far beyond my narrow little field of music teacher.
And yet, the field of music teaching is indeed my home base where I am most effective and real and authentic. It is in the Orff workshop that the coat of many colors fits best and within minutes, can bring strangers together as if longtime friends, instantly knit together the cloth of community, find the right words at the right time to make the right connections to the ideas far within, behind and beyond each joyful activity. Words that sometimes create a deep listening space and when they feel like they’ve reached their limit, the needed song or dance or body percussion music is at our fingertips to transpose it all from ideas to the alive presence in the blood, bones and nervous system. It’s the place where 45 years and tens of thousands of classes with kids and adults of all ages have created an integrity and clarity unlike anything else in my little life. I certainly can’t cook or play piano or discuss politics with that level of confidence, but standing in a circle in a room large enough to hold us with people come to make music and improve their teaching is exactly the world I hope us all to live in. In each and every workshop, more so in this ripened maturity and yet more so with this year and a half of screened reduction, I am left with the certainty that “this is what I was born for.”
And here in Oklahoma, I get two more days of heaven on earth. May such future opportunities thrive and prosper.