I can't ever think of a time as a young child and not having music incorporated into my school experience. I was fortunate enough to have both vocal and instrumental music while in elementary school. Miss Barr (who later became Mrs. Black) was one of THE most wonderful teachers I had ever met. She was unlike any other teacher. There was a spark -no a THUNDERBOLT within her. Anytime she needed to get the attention of a student, especially when we were outside, she would use her mezzo-soprano range and sing their name with a vibrato. "Suzehhhhhh-eeeeeehhhhtte" CLASSIC Miss Barr. We loved it and loved her. She had a way of making everything we learned about music magical.
I still remember our kindergarten Christmas concert (a few decades ago-I won't get into specifics), not all of us were cast to be ladybugs and fireflies, the rest were part of the choir. Some of us were sad but she let us know how IMPORTANT we and OUR ROLES were and that we were part of the production even though we weren't in costume. To this day I still remember the song we sang (Angels, Lambs, Ladybugs and Fireflies).
I also remember in grade 6 learning about rhythms. Miss Barr introduced us to glockenspiels and marimbas. I wanted so badly to be chosen to participate but sadly I was going through a phase of being self-conscious and didn't put up my hand. I still remember the rhythms that she introduced to us that day -Imagine that. That year I also remember not giving my all when I was singing (still self conscious). Well Miss Barr noticed and made a comment on my report card. I wasn't mad because knew I had it in me to do better and so did Miss Barr.
At the end of grade 6 (I think it was grade 6), Miss Barr, who was now Mrs. Black (married), was leaving our school to go to another. I was crushed as the other kids were. I never got a chance to tell her how much she meant to me. How happy I felt to be in her class, and how much she enriched MY LIFE. It is because of her I had and still have such an appreciation for the arts, world music and marimbas.
The following year we had a new music teacher. Mr. Sandbourne. He was weird and seemed boring. He didn't have the energy and zest that Miss Barr had. There was one thing though that made him special. He was an avid Beatles fan and when he spoke about them, he came ALIVE. That year I learned all about the Beatles and they earned my respect and appreciation as did Mr. Sandbourne.
My love music has made me who I am today, with the help of hard working, passionate teachers like Miss Barr aka Mrs. Black, Mr. Sandbourne and Mr. T-my instrumental teacher-but that's another story.
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