Friday, September 16, 2011

Group Lessons and Orchestra

While last week was the start of my grad school courses, it's this week that things really get underway with all my teaching and freelancing: rehearsals with both the L-- Symphony and the C-- A-- Symphony, private teaching on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday, and the beginning of rehearsals with the children's string orchestra I conduct as well as the first group lesson at the Montessori school where I've started teaching this year.

The first youth orchestra rehearsal went better than expected and I'm feeling optimistic that this year will be better than last year, which was in many ways a rough year for my group (and thus for me). At the end of the rehearsal two new students came up and hugged me, and I found myself surprised. Then I started thinking about how sad it is that when kids hug a teacher today our first thoughts are about whether it's appropriate, whether the child has attachment issues, and whether we might find ourselves with a lawsuit on our hands, instead of just able to appreciate what's probably a simple show of joy and affection from a six-year old.

I'm feeling positive about the Montessori group class, too. This Tuesday we sat on the floor in a circle and introduced ourselves, and then I gave each child a kleenex-box-and-paint-stirrer "violin." we learned which hand is the violin hand and which hand is the bow hand, we made foot charts, we learned rest position and playing position, we listened to the first Twinkle variation, we held the "violins" with nicely rounded "cupcake fingers" on the edge of the kleenex box, and of course, we learned to bow as a sign of respect, as a way of saying "thank you" to audience, teacher, and student alike. At the end of the class one student, Lucy, declared, "This was the strangest violin lesson I ever heard of!" as she tucked her kleenex box under her arm and prepared to leave.

{But she smiled all through the class, so I'm not taking it personally!}

1 comment:

  1. I say again (a completely unbiased opinion, of course!) that these kids are really fortunate to be learning with you. Your passion is incredible. Add to that your creativity and they have a fabulous teacher!