Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Music Appreciation at School

Last term all the parents were invited to L's pre-K English school for a "music appreciation" event at 11 a.m. I was a little concerned since in my imagination, "music appreciation" conjured up the image of 15-20 three-year-olds banging away on all the musical instruments as if they were all drums. But I want to support the school and L, so I dutifully went.

I arrived a wee bit late, no more than five minutes, and everyone was assembled in the general purpose room. The children were all sitting quietly on the floor and a row of chairs in the back let the parents sit down. Maybe three or four other parents were there. In the front of the room were five 20-something British lads with their musical instruments. The dreaded drum kit was in the back, but they also had a bass guitar, a double bass, a clarinet, and a trumpet. They started playing music, a tune I immediately recognized as Duke Ellington's "Take the A Train."

When they finished that tune, they introduced themselves and asked the children to identify each instrument in turn. When they came to the double bass, L put her hand up and said, "Violin!" That wasn't right but it was close enough. They had the children stand up and dance around for their next tune.

After the children were seated again, the clarinetist told them that they were playing Jazz music which comes from America. "Which of you children has heard of America?" he asked. No one raised their hand. I was a little embarrassed, since L was born in America. Of course, that was a lifetime ago for her and she has spent almost half her life here in England. Definitely the more memorable half. So perhaps she can be excused.

For the next song, they asked the children for some jungle animals. Lions and monkeys were named, then one child shouted out, "Fish!" The band leader said, "Yes...if there's a river in the jungle, I suppose there'd be fish." They had a jungle song which featured a refrain telling the audience to "dance like a _____," which the children joyfully did.

They also played "When the Saints Go Marching In" with a couple of extra verses I hadn't heard before. The band did justice to the New Orleans jazz style, which was impressive for a bunch of Brits.

It was a very delightful time. I was glad I went and look forward to the school's next offering.

There's a video on Facebook!

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