“You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”Eleanor Roosevelt
Some of my favourite quotes come from the former First Lady. In addition to the one above, the other one I often seem to live my life by is “Do one thing every day that scares you.”
This year has been no different.
Earlier in the year I was asked if I would be willing to run a music program one day a week for some of our higher needs senior students. Of course I said yes but not without trepidation. Anyone reading this blog will know (even from the title) that I am in the habit of doing things for which I possess no formal qualifications. Teaching music is no different.
So why me? Because from my first days as a casual relief teacher, I have tried to incorporate music into my lessons. I became rather well known for walking in and out of school with firstly a ukulele, then a small guitar, followed by a small suitcase of other instruments and finally a very large suitcase (big enough to incur regular comments of “Moving out of home, are we?”).
What I lack in a piece of paper, I make up for with love and passion – for special needs education and for enabling these unique students to experience live music.
It used to be that qualifying as a teacher required you to learn some sort of instrument but in these days of the internet, Spotify and YouTube, music in classrooms has become something professionally recorded. Experiencing someone singing and playing live and having the opportunity to make music too is an unusual occurrence for those outside the expensive private school system.
So, once a week, I would take over a therapy room and spend the day singing and making music. Like most things I do, I made it up as a went along, admittedly stressed every week that it wouldn’t be good enough. But when one term turned into two which turned into three when the second term was disrupted by lockdowns, it was clear that my program was working. I wish I could share the joyous photos of my students. It made my day, my week, my year.
Last week I was asked if I would be willing to run my program again next year. Of course, I had to think about it first. For about a nanosecond…
But, dear Eleanor, things didn’t end there. It got a lot scarier.
Through a random conversation with one of the teachers, I found myself writing a graduation song. The thought of performing it at the ceremony was terrifying but I needn’t have worried as surging COVID-19 cases and increased pandemic restrictions meant I wasn’t able to attend after all.
Hahahaha…. No worries….
Instead of performing it live, I was asked if I could record it so it could be used by the speech therapists to create the graduation video that would not only be shown at the ceremony but also shared on the school Facebook page.
How do I do that, exactly??
Thus I embarked on the “do the thing you think you cannot do” journey of the year, buying a microphone and googling “how do I…?” questions every day.
I did it. I did the thing. It wasn’t perfect but I did it.
You can watch it here: https://fb.watch/a2gyEj9kE2/
(It took about seven takes to get that first shot. Seven times, climbing up the frame with a guitar on my back. We laughed a lot.)
PS I’ve been commissioned to write a song for next year’s graduation class too. I think I’ve started something. Scary things every day.
How about you? When have you done the thing you think you cannot do?