Student anecdote: what is music?

I teach primarily ESL students, where English is their second language.  During a junior high session where the students had defined instruments, had watched instruments being played and were listening for specific instruments, a student looked at me and honestly asked, “Mrs. Camozzi, is a pencil falling music?  Is a foot-tap music?  Is a chair falling music?”  I asked him, “When a chicken talks, is it Hmong?” (hoping that the word ‘incidental’ may happen in some form)

He smirked and said, “Yes!  He says pab!  pab!” (Said, “bpah, bphah”).  I agreed, while the rest of the class began to laugh wildly.  Pab, I found, meant, “help!”

Fall into Music

After a successful summer enrolled in the University of St. Thomas’s graduate  program, I hit the ground running with the 2010-11 school year at Noble Academy!  The students enthusiastically took to my curriculum, with body percussion, Dalcroze movement, and much experience with mallets.  I can now say with confidence that I see 30+ eighth graders weekly, who enter my room giggly with anticipation.

My husband and I also bought a home and have been spending most weekends as “weekend warriors”, fixing faucets, weeding gardens and painting rooms.  Our puppy loves the changes she sees, and especially loves the new yard!

A moment to remember from this fall:  the eighth grade students spent a busy September chanting, singing and playing the recorder as a large ensemble.  As October rolled around, I began to introduce choir and vocal technique.  One student said to me, “Mrs. C, I’m new here.  And I don’t sing.  It’s not cool.”  I smiled and said, “we’ll see”.  The class was spent moving to the music, locating the notes on the staff and then putting it to body percussion, vocally exploring through tales and ending with a canon in Latin.  When I wrapped up the session and asked, “how is choir different than what you had thought it was?”  The same student from the beginning of class raised his hand eagerly and said, “well, it’s crazy challenging.  But because everyone here is trying, it’s a lot of fun.  I think I like choir.”

my new answer to student protests, “We’ll see” (with a wink)