Issue 146: My Music Teaching Life

One of the great joys about my life is that I am in and out of maybe up to a dozen schools each term. I get to see all different kinds of primary school environments – ranging from a sort of creative free-fall, to precision organisation. I meet children from a wide range of homes – country children, town children, village children, living in anything from moated manor houses to tiny temporary flats. And I teach classes of up to forty, an infant school music club of a dozen, a junior theory class, ensembles, small groups of two or three, and individuals. I teach instrumental classes and lessons, and standard “class” music lessons. Every two or three hours I enter another musical world. I love it! What a life! I even like (most of) the driving around from one place to another – it give me a chance to watch the changing seasons in the lovely countryside.

However the organisation I have to do to make sure that I have loaded the car with what I will need for the day is mind blowing.  I’m beginning to start getting my head around the forthcoming term, which will look like something along these lines;

Monday: Year 2 samba (take my repinique, don’t forget my samba whistle), a piano lesson in a village school (take planning and register), Year 3 samba (take my own kit as the school won’t have one), Year 3 djembe (take my djembe). I’m not quite sure how to fit all that lot in my car at the moment… and then home to teach a private theory lesson.

Tuesday: Year 2 recorders, Junior School Theory Club, and possibly ukuleles all afternoon. (pack ukulele, recorder and bag of theory stuff) Three piano lessons in the evening

Wednesday: Keyboard and piano lessons in a village school (take my extension cable for plugging in keyboards, registers and planning), Year 5 samba (take my repinique and whistle), Intermediate Junior Descant recorder ensemble, and possibly ukuleles all afternoon. (take my ukulele and recorder) Two piano lessons in the evening

Thursday: Before school Infant music club (take paperwork, hand puppet, sound system and instruments), then a whole day teaching class music including ukuleles at a village school (take sound system, ukulele). Two theory lessons in the evening

Friday: Advanced Junior school recorder ensemble in the afternoon, and possibly samba all afternoon.(take recorders and repinique) In the second half of term I will be teaching aural tests and rehearsing accompaniments with exam candidates in the morning. Three pupils in the evening.

And of course, my packed lunch, my planning for each class lesson (yes, I really do write out lesson plans for all my class teaching and jot down reviews afterwards!), my phone, a bottle of water to drink, my identity badges, my USB stick, my mp3 player and anything else that finds its way into the bags.

With all this going on, perhaps it’s not too surprising that I begin to run out of steam by the end of term! So, apologies for neglecting The Jungle in December. And I guess I will making apologies again towards the Easter Term.

The thing is, if I didn’t do all this teaching, what would I have to share with you???  And what would I do with myself all day? Housework? I don’t think so!

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