In elementary school, I loathed music class. Hated it. I knew what music was supposed to sound like, and it certainly was not what came out of the various implements in Mrs. Whatzherface’s classroom.
Imagine the intital grimace, then, as my colleague Newman informed me that I would be leading the marimba (huge xylophone) classes in our weekday youth program. He chose because of this scene,
when I jumped in with the actual marimba players during their practice.
Three lessons I have since learned:
1) You can’t put hammers in the hands of children or teenagers and expect them to control themselves. Into my classroom, I have built in “crazy time.” When I say, “GO CRAZY!” the students get to hit whatever they want until I give them the conductor’s cut off.
2) Establishing order is task number one. The first thing I say, and the first thing each group practices, is to stop playing as soon as I give them the signal, placing the hammers behind their backs.
3) Teaching is exhausting. Teachers should be paid like Presidents. And get daily foot massages.