Saturday, 14 July 2012

Saturday 14th July - The ticking clock

The "normal" pattern of my teaching schedule requires a certain amount of stamina and organisation, but is achievable because it quickly settles into a pattern. I travel around the county delivering class music lessons often based on a particular instrument under the "Wider Opportunities in Music" programme.

Each lesson will incorporate singing, rhythm and pulse games, listening to music and learning to play the instrument. There will be between twenty and thirty-five children in each class, ranging in age between 7 and 11 years old.

Monday; C clarinets, keyboards, treble recorders.
Tuesday; keyboards and djembes,
Wednesday; djembe, B flat clarinets and a trumpet, more djembes.
Thursday; samba, class music and two groups of recorders,
Friday; samba and four groups of recorders.

Add to the daily list a selection from (depending on what I am teaching in each lesson); guitar, ukulele, laptop, hefty amplifier, maybe some extra percussion instruments, and the car is soon pretty well solidly filled, leaving just the driver seat free.

And don't forget the planning folder, spare clarinet reeds, song books, sheet music, admin letters to hand out, mp3 player, memory stick, mobile phone and packed lunch!

It's no wonder that at some point the organisation gives way and I find that I have scattered my possessions across the length and breadth of the county - my planning folder abandoned at one school, my coat at another, my mobile phone forgotten on the dining room table, my lunch box in a staff room kitchen....

Most evenings I also teach piano for up to three hours. The change from whole class teaching to individual tuition may be easier in terms of "behaviour management" but still requires intense listening and concentration.

So, to sit here, on a Saturday morning, in a quiet, music-free space is a real joy. I can almost feel my ears relaxing as I listen to the gentle ticking of the clock, and the subdued tapping of fingers on computer keys (mine on the lap-top, Best-Beloved on the PC nearby).

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