Sunday, November 21, 2010
Almost everyone has had a great teacher in their lives. One of mine was Mrs. Behrens in the third grade. If you went by looks alone, you'd be terrified. She was an imposing figure. Luckily for the hundreds of kids she taught over the years, that was only a brief first impression.
Although it was a small Catholic elementary school without any type of arts program, she created her own. She would often tell us in the afternoon to clear our desks except for crayons or colored pencils. She would pass out a sparkling white clean sheet of paper to each student and then ask us to just clear our minds. She would put on classical music and simply introduce it by saying, "Enjoy Bach." We just listened to music from a record player (yes, a record player) she brought from her own home and records from her own collection and let our minds just drift as we drew anything we wanted. It turned my whole day around and allowed my 8 year-old mind to relax and expand. We all loved it. Mrs. Behrens was brilliant!
Here's something that's not talked about enough -- music and bullying prevention.
Singing it, playing it, creating it, or listening to it, music is the great communicator. So why don't we use more of it to get messages across in school, lower kids' frustrations and create a better school climate in general?
There are hundreds of reasons why schools are often very tense, especially as kids approach middle and high school. Music is a great tension reliever. It allows all ages to express themselves and being able to express yourself, lowers frustration.
School budgets are always part of the challenge but introducing music in the classroom is easy and doesn't take a big budget. Just ask Mrs. B, now in her eighties and a much less imposing figure. But it's still the size of her heart and her simple wisdom that are impressive.
Here's a little of P.S, 22 Chorus to help drive home the point. It makes me smile that the chorus teacher's name is Mr. B.