I knew at 7:05 this morning that I was done with humanity for the day.
This was not a good development because I had only been awake for 90 minutes and I was staring down the barrel of a twelve-hour workday where I had to teach which included such Kum-bah-yah concepts as encouraging and inspiring. It was going to be a long, LONG day.
And you'll never guess what happened...
What happened was...exactly what I thought was going to happen. It was a long, LONG day. Students were in various states of preparedness or lack thereof. I never got the morning memo that I was driving the invisible car, and was getting cut off here there and everywhere. It was cold and snowflake-ish. I left for work that morning in the dark and left teaching that night in the dark, feeling like a troll and wondering if I was growing moss. My nylons decided to self-destruct in 27 places simultaneously, leaving me nothing but shreds and no time to buy a backup pair. If one thing went right today, it was that I was wearing a longer-than-usual skirt and my unintentional fishnets weren't nearly as noticeable as they could have been. Small favors, right?
At 4pm I walked over to teach my class. I was looking forward to this one only because for once, the students were going to do the talking. They were all assigned to bring in something to listen to. The only requirement -- it had to have singing in it. I didn't care if it was pop, rock, country, broadway, jazz, world, folk and children's music. It just had to have singing. And the students were to play it and talk about it. Talk about the voice, and the singing style and what instruments they heard. Talk about why they liked it, and why they brought it to class. The in-class presentations couldn't have come at a better time, because today I honestly felt talked-out. I was ready for someone else to offer up their opinion. And besides, I really like to hear what they come up with.
This year, among other selections, we got some pop Latin (Spanish), some acoustic Indie, some crossover classical-lite, some Celtic, and something with voice and electric cellos. No kidding. The observations were basic but decent. They talked about the singing style, the ease (or lack thereof) in the sound, the instrumentation, the form of the song and the lyrics. Several of the songs (which I did not know) were pretty catchy, with interesting rhythms, rich harmonies, beautiful melodies, or just highly unusual sounds (electric cellos, I'm looking at you!). The very last student of the day played a song by a popular acoustic indy singer. It was a song I actually knew (amazing) and owned (doubly amazing!). Like all students, the last question I asked was, "why did you choose this song?" The answer was a blush, a bit of an embarassed smile, and the confession, "it just makes me happy."
Right then, in the midst of my terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day, I smiled. It didn't erase the rest of the mess like some sort of magical, musical Etch-A-Sketch, but in that brief moment I was grateful for the reminder that despite it all, music was always there to cheer, console, encourage or inspire. Lord knows I was never going to see it or hear it today, but assignment or not, someone else did, and shared the joy.
Seeing someone else touched by a song just made me happy.
And that was good enough for today.