I Woke up Saturday Morning and Checked My Email.
Something in there directed me to Facebook where I kept seeing references to France and Paris and I didn’t understand what was going on, so I Googled it. I was shocked and saddened. Suddenly, I could not imagine heading to my Saturday job – making music play on with families of children under the age of 5. What could I do? How could I possibly sing and dance when there was such tragedy going on in the world?
The sad truth is that there is always something sad, something tragic going on somewhere in the world. It may not be on the same scale or for the same reasons, but people manage to do terrible things to each other every day in every country. On this particular day I just happened to be acutely aware of it. However, those babies, those toddlers and those preschoolers were blissfully unaware. Their families were probably feeling the same way I was. Even though I was having trouble imagining leading a music play class I knew that was exactly what we all needed. Art heals. Music and movement can soothe the soul and bring people together.
Music Play On to The Rescue
So, I got out my iPod. I found my “Get Happy” playlist and I started to let the music play and do its thing. Everything on that playlist is there because it has the power to lift me out of lethargy, apathy, sadness, or inertia. Those lyrics and the rhythms of those songs somehow manage to move me beyond the emotions that might otherwise keep me stuck. First, I just let the music play on and wash over me. I listened to the words, I let the music move me literally and figuratively. I started to move around my room picking out my clothes, packing up all my materials.
Normally I listen to NPR in my car. It really is my only source of news. But not Saturday. Saturday I NEEDED music. The “Get Happy” playlist brought me all the way to work and through my setting up of the space to prepare for class. As I opened the blinds to let in the light and opened the windows to take in the cool fall morning air, I danced, I sang, I reveled in the beauty and the joy of the music.
How I Felt Afterwards
Once my families arrived I was ready. My heart was in a completely different place. I had energy and hope. I remembered that the world needs music. It needs these children who are taking music play on in at the cellular level every week – bouncing their knees, bobbing their heads, swinging their arms, tracking our rhythmic movements with their eyes – these children who are smiling, singing, dancing and experimenting with rhythm right along side the adults in their lives. This is what the world needs.
It needs people who love and understand music. Who can make and appreciate it. It needs people, strangers and families alike, who are making music together. It is these children who may help to create the music that will heal others from tragedies that will inevitably happen.
I am always grateful for music but there are some days where I am more keenly aware of just how much. Experiences like this remind me once again why it is SO important to have the arts in our schools, to allow children to experience the joy and the healing art can bring. And we all need a healing from the little and big sadnesses that can creep into our lives. Let the music play on.
Deirdre is a teaching artist and AI coach in the San Diego public schools dedicated to helping classroom teachers make arts an integral part of their teaching. Deirdre has an MEd in Arts Integration and over twenty years of classroom and performing arts teaching experience. Email Deirdre.