Today I chaperoned our middle school band - the 7th and 8th graders. They were participating in a District Festival or something like that.
We arrived at school at 7am. Yes, that was mighty early for a Saturday morning...
I checked in the kids on my bus and handed out their personal baggies of bow ties and cumberbunds. It never ceases to amaze me when the kids ask if they should put on said items. I always want to say something like, "no, I gave it to you so you can shove it up your butt" or "no, just sit and look it".
We arrived at the school and went to the location where the kids leave their cases and coats. They were supposed to put their instruments together and sit tight. They were also told not to play. As a matter of fact, the director told them, "Don't play." Could he have said it any more clearly?
The kids can't help it. The minute they get their instruments together it goes immediately to their lips and they honk. We spent the next 20 minutes saying, "Don't play." From there the kids went to the warm-up room and then the stage.
As the kids took the stage, they had presence - they went from goofy kids to real musicians. They were alert. They were attentive. They were - dare I say it - professional. Their director approached the podium and they snapped to. The kids played their hearts out! They were perfect! Every rhythm was right on! The dynamics were perfectly executed! (We chaperones and parents cheered and whooped! I'd say we adequately embarrassed our offspring.)
The kids went from the stage to the sight-reading room. They were not allowed to talk or play in there. And they DIDN'T!! We were shocked! They did exactly as they were told. They had 7 minutes of perfect silence (Yes - I know... Your jaws are slack... so were ours as we watched the whole thing unfold). After the seven minutes of silence, the director lifted his hands and the instruments went up. The kids took a collective deep breath and started to play. It was really really good!!
They scored perfect 1's across the board! They rank Superior.
Our middle school band teacher is doing something - make that everything - right!!