A Blog by Chicken Wrangler Sara

My Christmas tree is out – out of the closet. Perhaps after my last Christmas performance on December 21st I can get it out of the box.  Such is the life of a music teacher.  I had forgotten how busy and stressful the Christmas Season could be.  After 10 years at my previous school I was running on autopilot.  I knew the kids. I knew the program and what was expected.

Not so true this year.

Having 6 times the number of students sounded great and presented endless possibilities. I may have been a little over ambitious given the fact that their knowledge and skill base was different than I had anticipated.

There was a complete set of marching drums in my new office and I decided a drum line would be fun. (I completely ignored the fact that I have never played drums much less directed a drum line.) That all sounded wonderful in August before I had met any of the students.  They were not all excited about the plans I had made.  Many moments of frustration and “what was I thinking” have gone by.

But the day before the Christmas parade there were 6 students on drums marching around the parking lot keeping a remarkably steady beat and not tripping over each other.  Even our son Matt, the percussionist, was impressed with them.

Next week I will be fine-tuning the bells and voices for our rendition of “Carol of the Bells.” I’m not sure getting twenty-seven 5th and 6th graders to participate cheerfully was ever a realistic goal. But again, there are enough that want to play and sing so we’re giving it our all.

The 3rd and 4th grade recorder players have been a pleasant respite. I’ve taught recorder forever and these kids were excited to learn.

The final performance on Dec 21st is at the preschool which is much less pressure.   The younger students are cute and their parents love them regardless of how they sound.

Then, on December 22nd, I can put up our tree.  In some cultures the tree traditionally goes up on Christmas Eve.  Perhaps music teachers should be part of that culture.