As summer gives way to fall, the school building has become a little more humid, as if the educational structure is finding its balance between the seasons (there is a metaphor here, I’m sure. ). The air in the hallways is a bit thicker, and children dutifully walk around them, pushing back their tangled bangs and cleverly positioning their cell phones among their books; hence, they can see this damaging text during the few minutes that they are in transit.
The humidity definitely adds to the boredom of the day – that circadian routine that suggests a boring life. We hope that the classroom is a refuge from this monotony, and in said class, we hope that it bursts with color, even a little noise.
Contemplatively, I think monotony is inevitable in the routine, even if the routine is necessary. However, I wandered through the day with a little more enthusiasm, regardless of the humidity and humidity on those painted cement walls. If my room was this metaphorical ship, it would have sailed in the fog to a lighthouse that would appear in my fifth block class.
A few weeks ago, I invited an alumnus, Brooke Way, to return to Corbin High School and perform for my creative writing class. In fact, shamelessly, I accosted her as she was walking around and asked her if she would be interested in playing for the class. Her face lit up and she instantly agreed.
Brooke Way is an accomplished professional violinist, and her accolades go beyond the mere word accomplished. I was overjoyed when she agreed to play for her alma mater.
After a few weeks of navigating common schedules, the day finally arrived, at which point I had helplessly invited four other classes to the event. It had become “The concert” in my head.
On reflection, Miss Way was a student in my creative writing class several years ago. I was really impressed with her creative abilities in her writing and often inspired. As a student she was very respectful and somewhat reserved. However, as the concert progressed, she wasn’t that reserved.
I introduced Miss Way, warning my children with a stern eye to be respectful. Before taking my seat, I recognized his talent. Looking back, my words seem to be an understatement.
Then she took the stage. And I mean she took the stage. Her presence left no concern for the adolescent angst that might sit in front of her. The interpreter has taken control. She made the whole presentation standout, speaking and interacting with the students without the need for a teacher standing guard in the audience. No, she held their attention more than any threat I could drive away. I was delighted.
Then there was his music. I think the passion for her game surprised them, because she surprised me. In my opinion, the violin touches the emotion more than any other instrument. These slow sounding spears often shoot at the parts inside the chest that are difficult to touch except through mental anguish or extreme happiness. The notes which slip from the strings of a violin after this voluntary blow of a bow tell a story. And she told us a wonderful story.
His first piece took me to Italy with its playful and suggestive tones. I could see cobblestones and cafes in my mind as the music whipped around me. She ended up with a climactic “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”, but it was the second piece that everyone loved. This piece, she wrote it herself. “Stella’s Lullaby” was a deep work of ups and downs and in my mind involved a melancholy journey of triumph and achievement.
Therefore, since Brooke Way was the guest of the Creative Writing Class, they were responsible for writing about music. They were allowed to approach their writing as they wished.
As such, I was impressed with what my students gleaned from his performance. Some put stories on the music they heard, while others wrote letters and observations, trying to capture what the music made them feel.
Here are some excerpts from what I read on my teacher’s desk:
“Even though the music had no words, it came to life in our heads. . . “
“Sadness doesn’t take into account a person’s success, how many friends they have, sometimes no matter what a person does, they just can’t escape it. To me, this piece represents that as well, going from what seems like a darker or weird tune to an upbeat, more motivating tone, and then back to a more melancholy sound. This cycle reminds me of an internalized sadness that is sometimes hard to escape.
“It was almost like she (Brooke) came to life the moment the first dark notes were played.”
“I couldn’t look away as she continued to play the song. Instead, the music just got faster and faster. I could feel my heart and my mind expanding with so many ideas.
As for me, the boredom of the day was lost in the color of his music.
Brian Theodore is a language arts teacher at Corbin High School and lives in Corbin with his wife, who is also a teacher at the CHS. He can be contacted at [email protected]