Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Music of the Heart

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My mind is a tumult of thought this evening. The ideas tumble back and forth in my head like clothes in the dryer, making and breaking static unions as they spin in a haphazard circle without a softener sheet.


I’ve entertained a dozen different postings - all the way from the terribly exciting to the dreadfully melancholy.

However, one thing stood out: The recital.

I was invited to attend a music recital this evening of a past student. He would be playing the guitar, “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” to be precise.

I snatched up my stack of journal entries to finish reading and commenting on as I moved into the building. The cold, biting, night air nipped around the room as I sat down and commenced reading.

Within’ a few minutes, the recital began. It was nearly at once that I found the music played by these children was nothing short of amazing. I felt myself become wrapped in the warm glow of the Christmas music they played, and the feeling one seems to associate with this wonderful holiday. A fire ignited in my chest as the first strains of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” filled the room. I found myself drawing in a breath as the feeling of magic wafted about me.

It surrounded me. Enveloped me. Consumed me.

I stopped correcting the entries and just listened and felt the music. When it came time for my student to take his place center stage, I couldn’t help but feel an immense sense of pride.

He sat and played with his teacher on his shiny, new guitar, and it reminded me of a moment in time space, when he asked me about learning to play – over a year ago now – after we’d finished a session of singing time in the classroom where I accompanied my students with the guitar.

I listened to him playing now and I felt a rushing sense that something I’d done along the way had helped him to arrive here at this place. It was the same feeling I’d had when I’d taught someone to become a better reader, when a student had mastered a difficult concept in Math, or when they had simply become a more active participant in their own learning.

Tonight I felt that.

As the recital ended, I recalled this boy’s and my time together when we practiced “Frosty the Snowman” for a literature response when he was just getting his musical wings about him.

It made me smile.

Before I left, I leaned over to this boy and told him how proud I was of him. Of how far he’d come, and how I wanted him to mention me when he was playing with some famous band or in a concert hall. He smiled and said, “Sure, Mr. Z.”

I left the recital and walked out to my car, thinking of another student who I just started teaching on the guitar. As the cold, wintery air blew about me, I smiled.

By the way, I also posted today over at Four Perspectives...just so you know.

First image source: Someplace I can't remember...


Shanna said...

Cool. You are an inspiration to young and old alike. I hope you know that.

Karen said...

I've worked with teenagers for years. I know just what you mean by that overwhelming pride.

Chrissy said...

I bet u were smiling from ear to ear!... Its great when u can reach a student and its even greater when u can see the accomplishment in their eyes!.

Joan said...

This moment, this one you experienced, ... It's why we do what we do.

Mindee said...

It would be great if all teachers felt this passion about their work and their impact on kids' lives. Thanks for doing what you do.

Justin said...

Oh wow what a great feeling.

Rachel said...

Smiling from ear to ear. Yeah. That is what I was doing yesterday when you and Mr. M were 'jamming'. :) I had visions of months, years to come of the two of you singing and jamming away.

People ask me if so many piano players in the house drives me nuts with all of the practicing. It doesn't! It is so soothing to me. I lay there on the couch and let the music wash over me. It's been that way with the guitar now too. I sit and smile as I listen to the sweet voice of Mr. M as he sits and strums his guitar never tiring of it.

Thanks for taking time out of your already busy full of service to others life, to work with Mr. M each week. I know he looks forward to it, and so do I. You're a great blessing in our family.

Gerb said...

I get that same feeling when I attend my kids' piano recitals. Not because I taught them to play (I wish!) but because I gave them something I never had but always wanted growing up: piano lessons with a great teacher.

Tonya said...

I love when students (or my own kids) click with something they love - being able to help them find that is priceless!!!

Mamaface said...

Such a lovely post. I feel the Christmas spirit here in the middle of gloomy January. You are a really outstanding teacher and friend to your students.

serious question. how do you get the kids to get past the 'hurting fingers' stage?

Natalie said...

Thanks for coming to support him. He appreciates it and so do I. There is no influence quite like Mr. Z and I would say we have been blessed to have you as part of our lives. Thanks so much!

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