• Stephanie

School Performance

Updated: Jun 18, 2018

#adaptiveteaching #specialeducation #everyonecanmakemusic #mm850

End of the year performances are a time to put all of the great things that our students have learned on display. We work hard for months to be sure that everyone does the best possible job for all of the parents’ eyes to see. Kids in general can be unpredictable and moody. We discuss and run through scenarios of all possible distractions and catastrophes. We rehearse over and over and can think of nothing else and hum all of the music pieces out loud as we cook, clean, shower, and sleep. Dress rehearsal could not have gone any smoother. We’ve got this! You cautiously exhale a breath of relief. Getting your hopes up just a little bit…..too much. Or is this just me? Here’s how it went down.

Everyone played so well during rehearsal. Like, the best that they ever had. Good timing, pretty focused, quiet voices, it was so good. Then we filled our small multi- purpose room with parents. There were fewer than 40 people there, but that was more than enough to cause pandemonium. Group one enters to play, student S sees parents. Student S completely melts down and squeezes in to a seat next to mom. She promises pizza, I tell him how much we are counting on him to cover for an absent student. He pulls it together and makes it through the song (basically, everyone in the room witnessed a miracle). Group two shocked my socks off. They were a little off on timing from time to time, but over all such a good job. Student J from this group played his entire song with his back to the audience last year. Huge improvement! Group 3 also did a very nice job. I was a little anxious for my pianist to dart at any moment, but it didn’t happen! Then came group 4. Each of these students entered the room with their own idea of how this was going to go. Student W was hyper focused, so ready to do this thing. Student D was nervous and eager to help get everything ready to begin. Student H was ready to entertain. He greeted his parents, engaged other audience members in conversation, and attempted to tell a joke he had learned from his teacher. At this point student M seems cool as a cucumber and ready accompany the group at the piano. We begin, finally after reigning in the audience and the children, and Student T is seeing just how tall of a tower he can make with his instruments. We struggle through the song the first time through as I catch the falling tower of desk bells. We are counting our 31/2 beats worth of rests when Student M begins a glissando. He is sliding up and down the keyboard then ads his own transition in the wrong key, but it did sound kinda cool. This was not planned. We managed to regroup and complete our song.

And I was so proud. If I pointed out every victory and improvement displayed just in that 15 minutes of performance time, this blog post would need its own website. From memorizing songs (none of my kids have every done that before) to counting beats, to continuing to concentrate and push through despite frustration and distractions, even standing on the stage in the first place. There is just so much to celebrate. Success may look a little different in our world, but it is no less significant. Every small advancement is progress.

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