Monday, May 16, 2016

reflections night(s)

Reflections Night is our time to reflect on the music and art that we have been working on all year.  For me it is a thousand little errands and then a big show.  Are all the microphones in place?  Is all the music ready?  Are there enough chairs?  Do the 5th graders all know how to play their songs?  Does everyone know the words?  Are the instruments in tune?... there are a lot of questions.  After rushing around like crazy for 2 hours with a bad cold, trying to be as prepared as possible, I ran into the atrium of the school which doubles as a cafeteria and triples as a performance space.  The kids had set up the sound system and tested all the microphones.  The kids had set up all the chairs and printed all the lyrics to the songs they needed.  The kids had practiced the songs that needed to be practiced. The show went smoothly.  There were a few mistakes and a few moments when the sound system produced a very loud feedback noise that hurt everyone's ears.  I saw somebody in the audience holding their ears and making a frustrated face at the deafening sound and, while I completely understood why that was so bothersome, all I could feel about it was a great pride for what the kids had accomplished. I stopped feeling sick for a second and I asked the audience for a big round of applause for the tech crew.  I'm sure they were confused.  Why are we clapping for the people who are making our ears hurt?  I didn't explain it very well but that was my Reflections Night reflections moment.  I realized that what the kids have been working on all year is a sense of ownership over the music that they make.  These kids chose, learned and composed their own songs.  They set up their space for the show and they ran the sound system all by themselves.  They made a few mistakes but they did an unbelievably terrific job for their age and experience level. They put on a great great show. Every mistake was a learning moment and every success was truly earned.