I have this idea. What if we put a guitar in every classroom? How about a piano? Maybe some drum machines. We’re always sitting around talking about BYOD this and 1:1 that. Why don’t we think outside the glowing screen for a moment or two? I used to use my guitar all the time early in my career, but I realized recently that I’d drifted away from it. Did I get crusty and rigid in my old age?
So I brought it back. This was partly inspired by the group of boys in my class who live for 70s prog rock. Let me tell you something: I’ve never taught a group that was into Rush or Emerson Lake and Palmer. Ever. I’ve taught kids who adored all kinds of nostalgia such as grunge, hip hop, gangsta rap, techno, brit pop, but never Eric Clapton. It’s a musical lesson for me.
They can’t keep their hands off the guitar. While talking about math, they strum. Sharing their insight into the big idea of a book, they pick and pluck. The give lunchtime concerts.
Today I actually heard them talking about drop D tuning. Yes, you can go right ahead and wikipedia that. I absolutely love listening to students having detailed conversations about topics of their own interest.
I was so horrified that I myself had gotten out of practice. I admonished myself for losing the calluses on my fingertips. How dare I forget the chords to Hallelujah? Shame on me. I wondered if it was symbolic of something.
I find it’s hard to keep joy out of your classroom when you have a guitar in there. Even if no one can play, you end up learning. And, boy, if there are some adept ones, watch out.
Long live the classroom piano/guitar.