2013-14 was the first year for a music program at the school where I teach general music and choir to middle and high school students. Our spring concert was last night, and I am incredibly proud of the great progress made by these students in just one year. They performed the music wonderfully, stood tall, sang out, rang handchimes and shared their joy. After the performance, many people came up to me to share their positive thoughts about the performance, and I truly appreciate all the kind words and support. I was particularly moved, however, by a mother who expressed profound thankfulness at seeing how her child was not just performing, but enjoying music.
Earlier in the afternoon, a group of girls spent extra time rehearsing, not because they had to, but because they wanted to. After they reviewed all the songs they would be performing that night — multiple times! — they continued to sing all of the songs we had learned over the entire academic year. They laughed and giggled, and, in spite of the silliness, got most of the notes correct. They were musicians making music together, but more importantly, they were having a great time reliving their shared music experiences as friends. And a mother was there to see the magic happen.
I am thankful I could teach music to these young people this year, and we did, indeed, learn a lot of music. However, I am most proud of the fact that this year, the students not only learned to make music, but to enjoy making music with friends. If you have never had the privilege of creating music with friends, it hard to express what a delight it is. But if you know that joy, then you understand what Willie Nelson was singing about in “On the Road Again.” I know I do.