Offering

Rain stopped
Dark clouds
Remained
Casting
Shadows
That left
Little room
For reaction
Until
Sunlight
Pushed
Through
Casting
Shadows
Of dancing
Leaves on
The ground
Prompting
A brief smile
Before
Slipping back
Behind the gray

Chopin Prelude in e minor Kelley Morris, piano

From Above

A flash
Wings
Aflutter
An audible
Gasp!
One might
Think I had
Never seen
A cardinal
Before

Why so curious a reaction?

Marveling
Over a new
Perspective
Beauty on
Full display
Feathers
Unfurled
In-flight
Observed
From above

The school year is quickly winding down. Today was fifth-grade graduation! This group of kiddos can be challenging, but they also can surprise. Today, they rose to the occasion and sang My Shot from the musical Hamilton for their graduation ceremony.

Our district photographer captured a shot of me leading them. This tired teacher, ready for summer, was full of energy. Perhaps, like with the cardinal, it was all in my perspective. ❤️

Do I look excited, or what? 😉

One Plus One

Twenty to one. Twenty-five to one. Thirty to one. No, not betting odds, teacher-student ratios. What happens when that one is changed to a two?

First-grade music class had a visitor today. My teacher friend, Mrs. Eakes. Angela, a former classroom teacher, is now an EL coach, passionate about all-things literacy and education.

Angela recently shared some articles with me about the benefit of echo songs. Particularly in helping students strengthen literacy skills. Echo is a big part of teaching music, and I was excited to incorporate the specific songs shared in the articles.

My kindergarten, first grade, and second grade classes have been singing the songs over the past few weeks. Some with motions, all a little silly. All a lot of fun! Most of the time…

Confession…even with our current curriculum and these engaging songs, sometimes I struggle.

It is challenging to simultaneously stay calm, focused, and energized. Keeping students engaged while also settling disagreements or drying tears. I know I’m not the only teacher who sometimes feels this way…outnumbered.

When Mrs. Eakes joined our class, the difference was immediate. Not only for me but also for the students. Yes, one plus one equals two. But in music class, today, one plus one equaled ten!

Reset Button

Is your phone not working correctly? Have you tried turning it off and then back on? Have problems with your computer? Same answer. At least, that is the answer if you ask my husband. And quite often, it takes care of the problem.

I’m starting to realize my brain works similarly. The only problem? My resets are not always intentional. It’s more of a hindsight experience.

Let me explain. My brain has been on overload for the past couple of weeks. Too many thoughts, dates, responsibilities, concerns, worries, etc. You get the picture. Partly because it is the end of the school year. The other part, well, that is for another day.

Gart and I drove to Arkansas last weekend to visit my parents. We took a personal day on Monday. On our drive home, I received a phone call asking me to play for a choir rehearsal Wednesday evening.

Yes! Sounds great! I’ll do it!

Of course, my answer came on a day I was not working. One day I was not thinking about all those upcoming events. Not thinking about how tired I would be after teaching all day Wednesday…

Wednesday arrived. I needed a nap between work and the rehearsal.

The music that I had little time to practice before rehearsal was by Mozart. Now, I have some pretty mean sight-reading skills. Legendary in some places. 😉 But an hour and a half of sight-reading Mozart? Well, there was no room for any other thoughts in my brain.

After rehearsal, I somehow drove myself home, made a cup of tea, and crawled into bed. When I woke up the next day, my body was tired. My brain, however, was calm.

Laughing to myself, I realized playing all that music was like hitting a reset button. Perhaps I should add sight-reading to my weekly routine. Do you think it would ensure a correctly working brain? Worth a try!

Simply Sunday

Soft Blanket

Surrounded
By more shades
Of green than
My mind could
Possibly imagine
Attempts to match
Each shade with
A colorful
Adjective
Fall short
Given up trying
Instead, noticing
The curious way
The greens
Compliment
And contrast
One another
Their beauty
Shining against
The backdrop
Of a blue sky
Dotted with
Fluffy, white clouds-
Driving down
The highway
Wrapped
In the soft
Blanket
Of Spring

Gart and I drove to Little Rock yesterday. We are spending the weekend with my mom and dad. Such a beautiful drive this time of year. So many trees budding and wildflowers blooming along the highway.

I had the opportunity to play piano at their church this morning. Not just a solo but also a special duet with my cousin’s grandson. What a treat!

That soft blanket of spring expanded to include family and music. Long hugs, I miss you’s, and sweet melodies. ❤️

Favorite Space

Nervous energy
Backstage
It lives there
No matter
Your age
Or years of
Experience-
No more time
For practicing
Smiles of
Reassurance
Bouncing
Back and forth
We are ready
And the audience
Is waiting to listen
Time on stage
Is brief
Barely enough
To find presence
In my favorite space
Lost in the music

My favorite part of being a musician is collaborating with other musicians. There is something magical about learning my part of the music and then hearing it come together with another.

Working as an accompanist used to take up much of my professional time. These days, not so much. Both time and opportunity often play a role, and that is ok. But an opportunity came along recently. And I am glad I said yes!

This past week, I had the privilege of accompanying a young cellist, eleven years old. He was to be a spotlight performer for the Tulsa Youth Symphony during their dinner fundraiser. He needed an accompanist, and a former colleague passed along my name.

We met once to rehearse. The level of preparedness, skill, and musicality was impressive. Easy to work with and kind. Eleven years old.

Waiting backstage, we both admitted to being a little nervous. But once in front of the audience, it was all about the music. Afterward, this truth was rekindled-Moments like these are my favorite. And they are to be treasured.

Not So Unalike

If your tears flowed
From my eyes
Instead of your own
Would I feel your pain?
Would I understand
What brings you joy?

If your heart
Beat strong
Inside my chest
Would you know
My fears? Sense
My excitement?

Physically impossible
We are worlds apart
Yet, if I stare long enough
At your image to gain
A glimpse into your soul
What might occur?

Would my life change?
Would yours?
Sympathy morphing
Into understanding
And understanding
Flying into action

I am not you
You are not me
Yet, if we seek-
Peer deep enough
Perhaps we would
Grasp the mystery

We are not so unlike.

Listening to this song a few weeks back, I was drawn to write. But days have been long. And my brain has been saying rest. Then today, I heard it again. This time, I couldn’t ignore it. As a matter of fact, I sat in my car in the garage until the song was over. Take a listen. ❤️

https://youtu.be/XT3zXs7eI0I

Two Recommendations

Every sound
Amplified
As if a megaphone
Was pointed directly
Into my ear
Each step
Heavier than
The one before
I try to smile
It’s not all bad
But, yesterday was great!
Why does today feel so opposite?

Same place
Same plans
The same me-I think
So, what could it be?
Energy expended
Yesterday
Not recouped
For today
Just two recommendations-
First, listen as
Five and six-year-olds
Sing their favorite songs
Second, go home
And take a nap

A great day of teaching requires a great deal of energy. Those where I wake up rested and ready tend to be the best. I can focus on the students and the music, all of us engaged and having fun.

But oh, those days when I did not sleep well the night before. Or some unexpected stress. Those days can be a struggle. My lack of energy affects my focus. If I am not engaged, neither are my students.

Teaching is both challenging and rewarding work! Some days will not go as planned. But some days are not all days. Children singing, particularly songs from the movie Encanto, and naps help. 😉 ❤️