I spent the whole day yesterday singing. Not just silly little singing in the shower like we all do. But actually USING my singing voice. It has been a long time since I have done that. I stopped teaching six years ago and stopped directing children's choirs and singing in small groups at church almost a year and a half ago. I had joined symphony chorus to help fill that void, which it has done excellently. But I was shocked at how different it was getting back into using my voice to teach again.
Let me explain. Yesterday was my first day teaching music at Gymboree Play and Music. I heard a comment recently suggesting that this job was maybe not good enough and it really bothered me. But then I got there yesterday, after several hours of studying the lesson plans and practicing the songs, ready to go. And for a few hours, I was focused on being the best teacher I could be, even if it was for children who cannot yet talk.
There were many things that I had forgotten about music teaching that came back pretty quickly.
The first was that I had forgotten how HIGH one has to sing to match the singing range of young children. I am a natural born alto (even though a prof in college told me to sing soprano) so while I was learning and singing the songs, it was a stretch for me. I hadn't sung in that range in a long time. Also, even though I used to be really good and making and following lesson plans, it felt so foreign yesterday. I had forgotten which information I used to write down to help me and which information I would just remember. It was good to team teach yesterday while it was all coming back to me.
The classes went fine and I think this job will go well for me. How could using music to teach little ones in their most important formative years be not good enough? One look at these little one's faces and watching them soak in everything they are seeing and hearing and one can see just how much good programs like these does.
By the time the four hours were done, I was heading out to my car still singing the songs from those lessons. That was something I used to do back when I was teaching in the schools. I found myself singing the songs throughout the entire day.
Then a few hours later, I was teaching a piano lesson and I realized how often I sing the rhythms along with my students' playing. It is not a big deal and all of my students are used to it, and they often do it along with me. What a great way to internalize what notes sound like.
Then, last night on the way to chorus rehearsal, it hit me that I had been singing ALL DAY. And yet I was still excited about going to rehearsal. Not only that, but I was so incredibly warmed up that I could have pulled off first soprano in a heartbeat.
It struck me that this was where I should be. I don't have many talents in this world. Music is pretty much the only thing I've ever done well. So it just felt really good that I seemed to be using it again.
It did kind of feel like I was coming full circle. I don't have to be in charge of 400 kids putting on big productions anymore. I can sit in front of a group of 5-10 toddlers and their caregivers and watch the amazing connections that they are making with their little ones.
That's not just good enough for me.