November 15, 2010
Setting: Horn Student T who is in 5th grade and myself, the horn teacher. T is very smart and quick to learn, but sometimes is challenging to keep on task.
T: So how long have you played the french horn?
Me: I started playing horn in 6th grade.
T: How long is that?
Me: Let's see. I guess you turn 12 in 6th grade, right?
Me: So.......I've been playing the horn for 30 years.
T: You're 42!?
Me: Yes, I am. Wow, 30 years is a long time isn't it? I hadn't thought of it that way until you asked. I guess I've been playing for a very long time.
Me: Now let's get back to work.
Kids are often curious about the things which might be "taboo" to talk about. Reminds me of when I was student teaching. We always went by our last names and it seemed to be the kids' personal challenge to discover what your first name was. So much time was spent before or after class shooting down the clever inquiries.
As long as it's said with respect, my students can call me by first name, last name, title, or any combination. Names don't matter so much. Knowing how old I am doesn't matter so much. Developing an open relationship in which kids know that their questions will be answered directly and that it's ok to ask them certainly does matter.
Next time, the question from T may be about how the horn works a certain way, or why f# always has to come first in the key signature, or any number of questions. Curiosity is important when studying music. Now if only T would practice more at home, his parents and I would each be very excited. ;-)