My family, wife and two daughters, are all musically inclined. My wife and I both performed in high school, band and choir, and actually met in the college choir. We’ve passed this love of music along to our daughters, both of whom perform in band and choir as well.
Three years ago, our oldest daughter was told she could earn points towards a music letter by performing in the community choir’s performance of Handel’s Messiah. Because of her, my wife and I performed as well, and the next year (and this year) all of us have gone and sang.
During one of our practices, our director talked about how, after 30 years of directing the Messiah, each year, it was like riding a bike getting back into the music. Each year, something a little different happened, but the overall motions and things that happened, they were very typical and easy to figure out and start back up again! As we were taking a break, the organist approaches me with a big smile saying, “Darin! How are you today?? Remember what Doug was talking about in how some things are like ‘riding a bike’?”
A little bit on our own background:
Our organist is also the middle school band teacher at our school, and has been so for about 30 years. Before coming to this school, she taught at my high school and was MY junior high and high school band instructor before she moved! It took each of us a little while, but one day, three weeks into our whole grade sharing (where we started putting the pieces together) she approaches me and says, “Darin, I have a question for you.”
My reply: “I believe the answer is yes!”
She asked, after looking through old yearbooks, if I was in fact her tuba player from her old school. Yup, that was me! 🙂 It’s been quite interesting, having her teach MY youngest daughter and watching some of the mannerisms I remember coming out.
Anyway, she comes to me during a break, and asks me if I’d be willing to pick up my tuba, after 26 years, and play with the middle school during the Christmas concert.
So, I brought home this monstrous tuba, much to the chagrin of my wife and daughters (the terms “sick cow” and “lovesick moose” were tossed around). I practiced, 15 minutes a day, during Thanksgiving break. I found a YouTube clip of another band playing “Hark, The Herold Tubas Sing”, and practiced with them as well. I found fingering charts and relearned so skills that had not been used since May of 1989 (yes, I’m old). The first time I entered into the band room to practice with the full group, the middle schoolers were stunned to say the least. All except the 8th grade tuba player who said, “He’s playing with us?!?!? This is awesome!!” I had told the director that I was going to “bedazzle” my tube (the above picture) and this 8th grader took it to heart, lighting his up, sharing with the other tuba player, and just joining in full force!
The night of the performance, the director introduced me, then pulled out the 1984 yearbook, to show off what a strapping looking fellow I was (I was awkward from 6th grade through 12th grade, ask my wife and it’s even later). The crowd enjoyed that immensely, and I had a ball performing again with a group of tubas. I was the only one in our band, so to play with three, a lot of fun! 🙂
Why put myself out there? Why not? The band students loved it having one of their teachers show up and take on another role, one of the learner rather than the teacher. They got to see me writing notes on my music, watching the director, modeling what a musician should be doing during rehearsal. A couple of them even heard me practicing at school, before all the students arrived! And the other students there at the concert, the parents, the community members, they had a chance to see a goofball with a tuba that had Christmas lights strung up around the bell! Someone who’s not afraid to have a little fun at his own expense (that middle school picture was painful enough!! ).
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there in front of your students: they need the role model, that person who shows that one can continue to learn well beyond the “school years”.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there in front of your staff: these are the kinds of stories that lead us to know each other as people rather than just teachers.
Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, period. You never know who might be in need of a good laugh and a little good cheer.
A little good can go a long way, don’t you think? 🙂