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The Music Lady - Beth Green: Blog

Being musically "rich"

Posted on October 10, 2015 with 0 comments
In my 17 years of running musical enrichment classes for children, one of the sweetest things happened not too long ago and I just have to share it! Whenever purchasing puppets, props, instruments, books, music, manipulatives and other fodder for our music classes, whether theme or season-based, I have an absolute blast and it's extremely easy for the little "bunny" in me to come out and envision how my little bunnies in class will react. One of my favorite things to do is play peekaboo when I bring out the next bag, and generate even more electric anticipation and excitement about what is IN the bag, (the exact reason we do not use transparent bags)! The fact that the children cannot see through it is part of the surprise and fun, and boy, do I milk that! So during one of my normal "milking it" sessions (looking in the bag and putting my hand over my mouth and acting eager and astonished, which is frequently mirrored physically by the children around me with similar responses---what a hoot that is!), one of my newest little bunnies who has me as her music teacher in a weekly group class at her preschool, was sampling her very first studio class and at the opening of yet another bag and its ensuing enthusiasm which accompanied this latest reveal, she absolutely could not contain her joy any longer and screamed out, "More presents"! It was almost more that she could bear! This was the third or fourth bag of instruments/props that we had brought out in that class, and she was thrilled beyond "measure", get it? (Music teacher humor, sorry!) This child’s explosively pure response was exactly what I hope for when it's time to augment my curriculum and activities within my studio or school classes. It takes very little energetic effort on my part, and yet the ROI is staggering. Much like our children’s musical responses in class, whether physical, auditory, vocal or a combination, it is part of the richness.

When we were young students, the teachers who put in the energy and investment into us, daily forging the last part of the triangle where our parents trustingly left off that morning, got to experience such an ROI as well. Some of my most stellar teachers who made the very best impressions in my soul are those whom I strive to emulate in my own classrooms; my students frequently hear me say that my best teachers growing up were “just kids in grown-up costumes”. They were still able to command respect and attention from us, disciplined when necessary, and managed to inspire us to accomplish myriad good work along the journey. Conversely, perhaps we have all had teachers that did not do such a hot job earning their privilege as our leader, perhaps we have all had tired teachers for whom, in retrospect, their career became a paycheck. The ones who would have served us best by going into another line of work rather than staying in education while tired. God bless their souls. In my daily walk in the many places that I am privileged to teach, I have yet to encounter any of those tired souls as my colleagues, and I am so grateful, and yes, spoiled by the richness! Spoiled by the consequential, excellent classroom behavior begotten by children seeing right through their transparent adults at the helm, knowing that those teachers are loving what they do and doing what they love, AND I'm spoiled to be surrounded by dedicated, phenomenal teachers who are "lifers", those who have happily committed to carefully watching every income penny in trade for the nobility of guiding young souls, impressions, paths. As I say to the teachers who participate in my teacher trainings: certainly, the payment for your services is not revealed simply in your wallets! No! The much larger payment comes with the hugs around the legs, the fleeing across a post office, Walmart or church when one of “your” children spies you and, after some momentary confusion because you're not in their normal place of familiarity, they fly to you! You are their Big Bird, their rock-star icon, their Santa Claus! Oh, to keep earning that rich accountability! May we never forget it! There will be some who will say, “That fame and accountability does not pay the bills, Beth!” Truly, they are correct! Take it from someone who has been blessed to work at many, concurrent activities to make ends meet, particularly as a single parent these last 16 years, but also in order to keep the richness in my life that has nothing whatsoever to do with the almighty dollar.

When my son was six years old, we had just come from the beach and we were talking about the precious things that we can do and share that cost no money at all but make us feel rich: going to the beach, taking walks in the woods, getting up while it was still very dark for a meteor shower, borrowing books from the library, making up songs and harmonies long after prayer time and lights-out, picking peas from our garden. He piped up from the backseat while we were stopped at a red light and offered one of his blessedly frequent moments of reflection: "Mom, I'd rather be heart-rich than pocket-rich". Me too, buddy! Me, too! At that moment, I knew that he was going to be just fine; he was in touch with what truly mattered. Almost twenty now, he’s still there, thank God!

With rings on your fingers and bells on your toes, may you be rich with music whenever you go! Keep singing, friends!