Friday, February 28, 2014

Kids, The Best Audience

My friend Lori asked me if I would visit the school where she teaches and tell the kids about what I do. They had several visitors throughout the month and each person did something to help the community. Lori wanted to include someone who wasn't exactly a policeman or fireman or doctor, but who still helped the community. I thought it was a great idea and I was free during the times that they wanted visitors, so I made my way to Ridge View Elementary School one Tuesday morning.

First things first: I am not a morning person. Add to that the fact that, on Tuesdays, I don't have anywhere to be until 2:00. So it was kind of a big deal that I was getting up early enough to be somewhere 45 minutes away at 9:30 am. It's good for me to get out in the community and spread the joy of music, so it was worth it. Also, the kids were super adorable so that helped make it worthwhile, too.

The drive was a pleasant one, and I found the school easily. I was buzzed in. I checked in on the computer, stuck my badge (sticker) on my shirt, and then followed Lori to the classroom. I would be talking to mostly kindergartners but also a 4th grade music class.

I told them that I teach college, perform around the community, and teach privately. I played lots of tunes for them. It was so cute because, when it was time for questions, most kids who raised their hands didn't have a question--they wanted to request a song. Also, some of them just wanted to tell me random facts about their lives.  A couple of the kids told me that they played guitar. I just kind of went "...all right...that's great! Any other questions?"

Some of the requested tunes: the Alphabet Song, Twinkle Twinkle, Baa Baa Black Sheep (and yes, all three of those use the same tune), several songs I didn't know including What Does the Fox Say (*groan*), Wagner's Bridal Chorus (since I play weddings), Mary Had a Little Lamb, Jingle Bells, and the Twelve Days of Christmas. I agreed to play Jingle Bells but I put my foot down when the Twelve Days came up. It's freakin' February, people!

The kids were well-behaved at the beginning but I think they got a little restless toward the end. Still, they were pretty much as attentive as I would expect kindergartners to be. And they sang along with several of the songs I played, including Rocky Top (you know I had to play that one).

After several requests for things I'd already played, Lori intervened and said "Okay, only raise your hand if you have a question to ask Miss Robyn." Some of the questions were good, like why was I wearing all black (I wore my concert black), when did I start playing, and why was the viola bigger than the violin. The cutest part is that some of them would raise their hand, wait patiently to be called on, and then just stare at me in silence when I actually called on them. Oh, and I got a good chuckle when I called on a boy by saying "Yes, in the purple shirt" and he looked down to see if he was indeed wearing a purple shirt.

All in all it was a fun time. They clapped enthusiastically after every tune I played (I wish all my audiences were like that) and one kid even shouted out "Bravo! Bravo!" a few times. It was great when the kids sang along, and I'm hoping that some of them go home and ask their parents/guardians if they can start violin or viola lessons.

Do you remember any of the visitors that came to your school when you were little? Who was your favorite?

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