Sunday, 14 December 2014

The Impossible Marathon

Yesterday I completed the Impossible Marathon.

Let me explain.

I like to end my Year 8 classes with a band jam , where every student gets to play every instrument in my band set-up of drums, bass, keyboard, acoustic and electric guitar.
The guitars are tuned to open E with stickers on the fretboard.
There are also stickers on the keyboard which is set to a strings sound.

"I'm Turning in my grave right now"

So this week I decided that we'd play along to James Arthur's "Impossible".
And why not?   It's got a nice, repetitive chord sequence, is at mid tempo and all the kids know it.

 I did have to adjust the key down slightly using Audacity, to make this work in the key of Bm/D

So to cut a long story short, I saw 50 students that day. They all played every instrument and I heard that song, or at least the first two verses and choruses, 50 times.

'So glad that I'm deaf..."

And do you know what?

I loved that day.

I saw joy on many kids' faces as they felt what it was like to play in a a band.
I saw kids playing drums and holding a beat for the first time ever. I heard other kids playing bass guitar for the first time and making me wish they'd auditioned for my school band in February.

We got to the end of the day and I just felt happy for the kids because they all left with big smiles on their faces, talking about their favourite instrument.

For many of them, that was their last music lesson ever. They will go on to High School and, depending on the curriculum, may never see the inside of a music room again. So I wanted to end with something relevant and exciting. I wanted them to understand that playing music in a group isn't that hard.

I should know- I've been getting away with it for more than 25 years!

So I hope I'm doing right by the local high schools. I hope I'm sending on to, a group of kids who want to find out more about how to express themselves through music. And in doing so, I hope I've made their job easier.
My kids may not know the difference between a Semibreve and a Beethoven but they all leave knowing that they can play music.

'Don't mind me. 'Im irrelevant"

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