Friday, April 24, 2009

Too many music lessons?

This is Amia and Lourdes at Hill this afternoon. Amia is a recent immigrant from South Africa. She was so excited to fill out her paperwork when we hired her because she'd just gotten her green card. Lourdes has a learning disability, but not when it comes to music. He takes violin, trumpet, guitar and drums. Everyone agrees he should be focusing on one or maybe two instruments. But I've never seen a teacher turn him away. I've never seen our teachers turn away any child passionate about learning an instrument.

Think about it. A warm spring Friday afternoon. The parents tell us they don't make the students come, the students are begging to come. Almost all of them don't take one lesson, they take two or more. Some come back again on Saturday. To be able to indulge themselves, have as much as they want of something, has to feel so good to them. That isn't something that students at Hill School get very often. Where would you rather these children be today? tomorrow?

This is a new Scrollworks student. She came from Hemphill Elementary because her cousin told her about the free lessons. Tionna took drums, a bit of piano and a bit of violin. Jason Swanson, a volunteer on Fridays, taught her clarinet and was very impressed with how fast she picked it up. Then she tried trumpet. Rick said her first sound out of the trumpet was marvelous--something a couple of his more challenging trumpet students hadn't been able to achieve in a month of lessons. After awhile, Tionna offered to show Rick something on the clarinet. So Tionna, clarinetist for barely an hour, sat down to seriously explain the instrument to Rick, who has a PhD in compostion.

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