Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Our Best Critics: Concert Time!

So it was concert week, last week. There were several. And after all was said and done, I was...um...content (Eh.), but not overly pleased with how the last concert went. The kids were nervous and excited, and of course, young. They took my "1... 2... 1, 2, ready, play" and ran with it. For almost all the concert songs. And that was unusual for this group. If anything, tempos run slow there.

The last song barely held together. I am not a particularly skilled conductor, although I'm working on it, and honestly this was my weakest band of the three I teach. Mostly for reasons out of their own control, like crap scheduling at the start of the year. Nobody was at all dissatisfied but me, of course. Now that it's over my little guys are proud of themselves, as they should be. But in the concert it's my butt to the audience, their completely imagined criticisms hitting my back and sinking in.  And there were many bosses there. And colleagues who know what it should sound like. So I wasn't extremely upset, just annoyed and embarrassed that it had sounded better before, when nobody was listening but the custodians.  Yeeeeaaaaah... I very much wish I could do that one over. Because I will be letting that bother me for a while.

Then in the hallway, a few hours later, a teacher who I rarely converse with stopped me. I'm embarrassed to say I don't know her name. She said to me: Great concert. So nice. Loved the last song. The Lightspeed one? They really watch you. They do?? It must be such fun to teach Band. It is??? Ok. Yes, it is.  
And we went on to discuss a particular kid she once taught, who I have in my percussion section, and how intently he was focused on the task at hand, for the entire concert. He was either watching me or had his eyes glued to the sheet music, bobbing his head to the beat. Yes, they look like that sometimes, and it's so freakin' cute. Especially when you've cut them off 4 measures ago and they're still dinging away at that triangle...
I gathered from her expression that this is not a kid who focuses well in class. Score one for the power of music!
Then, wrapping up, she said, "We were just talking about this in the staff room. I know you're new, but they love you so much. It's clear on their faces. They smile so big at you, even when they're in such a nervous situation, in front of everybody.  And I can see how much you love them. You have them, every one of them. They loved doing that concert with you."

I'm not reporting this to brag, because it's not some great accomplishment. A good student-teacher relationship is basic. This is as it should be. 
However, it's nice to be reminded of that. 
And realize that I was totally wrong about how that concert went.

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