Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Hello to Hobart

Always exciting to come to a place I’ve never been before. And yet in the role of the traveling music teacher, there is a similarity in staying in a hotel, spending the day in a school or hotel conference room, teaching people I recognize (music teachers) and some I actually know from previous courses, teaching the familiar material I’ve developed over the years and going out to a restaurant that might be Thai, Mexican, Italian regardless of where I am. Then of course the free wi-fi or hotel TV allows me to keep my familiar things at my side. 

But in my spare time, I do get out walking and try to feel what is unique about this particular place and these particular people. Staying in a small place with an owner with a name (the McQuarrie Manor), looking out the window to Mt. Wellington, noticing an architecture distinct from Adelaide, walking down to the waterfront of the river dressed in shoes and blue jeans in the more temperate San Francisco-like climate, I’m starting to get a little feel for Hobart. Walked some six miles after class yesterday, starting with a fish and chips dinner and wandering about, that delightful return to nobody in particular just smelling the smells, seeing the sights, listening to the birds whose calls I didn’t recognize. Stumbled into a path to the Botanical Gardens and ascended to a vista looking down on the town and the river and the surrounding hills. 

We often define the unknown with what we already know and Hobart has a touch of Halifax, Nova Scotia and Inverness, Scotland to it. I remembered some cartoon about the Tasmanian devil and read up about that unusual creature (don’t expect to see one). Tomorrow I have a whole day off so looking at some of the tourist options, from an art museum to a river boat ride to a bus up the mountain. We shall see.

Meanwhile, the third and last day of my course awaits, so satisfying to teach one group for some 15 hours. Conference teaching is like the Lone Ranger swooping in for a short time and riding off into the sunset, but courses at least two or three days allow for the kind of depth and breadth that makes teaching truly satisfying. The entire first day was spent on children’s games and percussion games and that was both immensely satisfying and immensely fun. I always include some games, but a whole 4 or 5 hours of it was new territory and a great way to release all the cooped-up inner children from their adult jails. Yesterday was a journey from preschool through middle school and today high school, the more serious (but still fun!) side of the matter as we build sequential skills and understandings. 

And so off I go into the marvels that await.

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