I often teach children who aren’t very happy. They could not have been happy for a number of months. It could be a sad time for them at the moment. Or it could just be an off day for them, and tomorrow will be better. But when I see them in their lesson, they aren’t very happy. Their body language is often closed off. There’s no smiling – not with their mouth, not with their eyes – nothing.
I’m lucky with my job, becuase I don’t have to teach children the music curriculum. I mostly do, and then some, because the NSW creative arts curriculum is not particularly detailed. But officially, my job is to engage the little people I see through music. In a nutshell, I have to try and make them smile.
Last week, I saw a little person that isn’t often happy. I know that they are anxious. I know that things aren’t great for them. And my heart breaks for them. Last music lesson, we were playing a piece with lots of different percussion instruments, and the class was rotating through each instrument. After a few goes, this little friend of mine got to play the bells. I’d asked the kids to play four bells when it was their turn to be the bell part (they are sleigh bells, and little hands can easily hold two) so that there was lots of ringing when we needed it.
I heard a voice “This is my favourite!” I asked why. “Because there are four instruments to play.” I stopped everything. “Okay bell department. You need to go and get two more bells each. Get ready for SIX bells.” You should have seen my little friend’s face. A BIG smile.
It made my day. I smiled for the rest of the day. In fact, I’m still smiling now thinking about it. And maybe you are too…