Sometimes the little things we do can make a massive difference. I have blogged before on a simple thing we did at a school in Kuwait where we played the National Anthem everyday on our instruments. It took about 45 seconds to play the National Anthem – we all had to be there by law but we could have used a recording. That 45 seconds made a massive difference. It meant children brought their instrument into school every day. It meant they warmed up before the anthem. It meant if they had any questions about some of the other pieces they were playing they could talk to teachers who were all there. The woodwind teacher would go through scales with the children just before we would start. We might play “We will rock you” while everyone was waiting for the flag. But more than anything, it fostered a sense of identity – children knew they were musicians because they played in the band. They made friends, they hung out with other musicians. That was 45 seconds of genius.
Giving out little hair bobbles as “belts” for recorder karate. You collected them on your recorder and played your teacher a piece at break time to see if you were good enough to get one. We had literally hundreds of children pestering us for these blooming hair bobbles. It was a bit annoying when you wanted a cup of tea in peace but standards went through the roof.
A simple decision to move children from sitting in class order to moving them into house order in singing practice. Suddenly there is fierce but friendly competition. The Vikings want to sing better than the Romans. The Saxons want to get more team points than the Normans. Which team will win the trophy for the House Music Competition? All the children are singing their hearts out.
One class does a really good class assembly with a fantastic song with instrumental accompaniment from the children. Suddenly the bar is raised. Class teachers start to outdo each other. They ask for music in good time for their classes. They give more support to the specialist Music teachers. They don’t just choose a song from Youtube but ask you for advice. Parents are happy and school leaders are beaming. Kids are proud and delighted that they are doing something really great.
The little things can make a big difference. A small change can create a chain reaction. It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money or any at all. The biggest change in my life was a little thing that my Music Teacher did for me. He let me come in at break time and use Notator on the Atari. He could have said no. My compositions were pretty dreadful to be honest but that one decision probably got me a degree and a career.
Lets thank our teachers for the little things they do.