On Tuesday I went to my grandson’s orchestra concert. It was a long drive from the campus where I teach to the middle school where the concert was held, but I like to attend their events whenever I can. And since I’m a musician, I want to support their musical efforts.
Middle school is such a difficult time for many kids. It’s also a difficult time for many parents and their teachers! I often jokingly refer to one daughter’s teenage years as the time when my IQ started dropping – nothing I did or said made any sense to her. Fortunately, as she matured, my intelligence (or perceived lack therof) miraculously rose. Lots of veteran teachers, myself included, prefer to stay far away from middle school classrooms.
Anyway, I went to the concert, sympathizing with the director, who conducted several different combinations of sixth, seventh, and eighth graders from two different buildings. He must have had some very capable helpers backstage, rounding up the different groups of students and sending them on and off the stage at the appropriate times. Each group appeared, seated themselves without any fuss, and applied themselves to performing their music. I was impressed with the way they conducted themselves.
In some circles, it might not be considered “cool” to be involved in school music. Later on, these “cool” non-musicians might regret their choices, but middle school seems to be the point when so many aspiring music makers put down their instruments. So when Scottie decided to play violin, I wondered how long this interest would last.
The fact that he’s still at it after three years tells me he enjoys it, and he’s willing to work on it. The fact that both parents and three grandparents were listening tells me that he’s got the backing of his family. And the fact that he ran across the parking lot to give me a good-bye hug tells me he appreciated my taking the time to go.
I have a great extended family, with kids and grandkids who are well-cared for, and well-taught. Life is good.