Friday afternoons are one of several high spots in my week. That's when, amongst other lessons which I also enjoy, I teach five-week short course of samba. You'd think it would be tedious, starting a new group every five weeks - back to the basics again, and again, and again, with yet another fresh group of twenty children.
Not a bit of it!
How could I get bored when the children are having such fun! There is something greatly satisfying about making a huge amount of noise, all together, on purpose, with a purpose, for a purpose. It reminds me of how much I used to enjoy the sound of breaking glass when I used to chuck stones at the few remaining panes of glass in our greenhouse when I was about that age (of course, I stopped doing that when the greenhouse was repaired and put back into operation. Pity, that. Spoiled my fun, rather.)
Anyway, back to the present moment.
It is so easy to build something impressive from a simple start; take a catchy rhythm - this time we are using "Here comes a samba, here we are!" - and belt it out on a mixture of surdo drums, agogo bells, ganzas (shakers) and tamborins (a small hand drum that you whack with a stick). You can hear us at the other end of the school - how lucky all the other pupils and teachers are to be able to listen to us having such a great time.
Seriously, samba is A Very Good Thing. The children who lack confidence find that they can keep the rhythm and follow the breaks; the children who are over confident find that they do actually have to concentrate or it all goes pear-shaped, the children who tend to be a bit hyper and act as the class clowns manage to tone down their behaviour in order to get their chance on the Really Big Drum. Forty minutes of belting out the rhythm on various different instruments leaves them punch-drunk from the noise, energised and yet exhausted from the effort of staying focused for the whole session. I have no idea what happens when they rejoin their class, and how happy their class teacher is to receive them back again - I can hear them samba-ing all the way down the corridor so maybe they've got it out of their system by the time they get back to class?
Roll on next Friday. Here comes a samba - here we are!