I am weary right now, typing this. I have had two HUGE days to start the week. But even though I am weary, I am hugely pleased. Let me tell you what I’ve been up to….
I teach in two Sydney Catholic Schools. The principal of school A moved to school B at the start of the year, and invited me to start a music program at school B. Year 6 at both schools djembe drum. So it was agreed that all the students would get together (at school B) for a drumming workshop. We had a big enough space. But getting (and storing) all those drums were hard – I needed 60. Both schools have 20 – but I needed another stash. So a complicated system that involved removing drums from school C (no longer used), storing at my local yoga studio (a HUGE thank you to the gang there!) and then carting said drum stash back-and-forth was hatched. (If I never move another bloody djembe again I won’t be sorry….)
I have never taught 60 drummers before. 35 yes, but 60 no. But do you know, it’s actually not much louder. I have to bellow a bit to be heard. And I had all the kids sitting in a circle, so I had to talk-and-spin as I delivered instructions. But it was really fun. And most importantly, the kids LOVED it. They loved the noise. The sense of being. All kinds of friendships were struck up. And by the end of it, we had a piece ready to perform. It was a fabulous day. That was Monday.
On Tuesday, I was at a different school. We were visited by the founder of the ACMF (the charity I work for), Don Spencer, and 8 visiting Chinese businessmen, looking to support Don and his work. This visit involved me teaching five of Don’s songs to the large senior choir (over 100 kids) so we could perform together, and then coming up with a music lesson for all of year 6 (nearly 40 kids) that we could share with the visitors (so they’d sit and join in). Again, it was a huge amount of work (not just for me – also the school – getting permission slips for filming (did I mention the two cameras?) and jiggling around the timetable) – but again, the kids LOVED it. Actually, not just the kids – but also the visitors. A few times I stepped away from myself, and managed to look at what was going on. People singing, or playing, or passing claves to the beat. Grown-ups and children. Lots of different coloured skin. Los of academic abilities. Shy people. ‘Out there’ people. And all smiling together.
Music is a great leveller. It’s a great friend-builder. It’s a great way to have a huge amount of (legal) fun. God knows the world could do with a bit more of that at the moment.