About two weeks ago, my third grade recorder students, along with my fourth and fifth grade chorus put on their first Spring Concert under my direction. Before accepting this position, I was a middle school chorus and general music teacher, so this was a first for me. Working for and trusting me to lead them for this concert was a first for them, also, so there was a lot of trust involved. We did two shows, one for the students and teachers of our school during the day, and the actual concert that night for the parents and families. Both performances went well (though the nighttime concert was a bit smoother) and I have received nothing but positive feedback from my principal, the parents, and the kids.
I was expecting behavior issues from some students and a few minor logistical issues, but I was definitely not ready for the moment that I had with a third grade recorder student before the start of the evening performance. As the principal and I were calling all of the recorder players up to the stage to take their places, one little boy passed us and he was clearly upset – eyes and face were red, tears were on his cheeks. This particular young man happens to be on the spectrum, so I was especially concerned and approached him as he took his spot. I asked him if he was alright, and he assured me that he was.
I walked away but a few minutes later noticed that he was still visibly upset. I led him off the stage (this was before we had officially started the program) and behind the curtain where I had stashed a bottle of water for such situations. I let him take a couple of sips before letting him know that it is perfectly normal to be nervous during a concert and that it was all going to be great, especially since we had already practiced during the daytime performance. This young man looked me right in the eyes, with tears still streaming down his cheeks and said, “Ms. M., I’m not upset because I’m nervous, I’m crying because I’m just so happy!” With that, he grabbed his recorder, tears still falling, and scurried back to his spot on stage.
This little boy’s comment just about knocked the wind out of me – I had to stay behind the curtain for a moment to recompose myself before walking back out. I made sure to let the principal in on the moment that I had just had, and tears filled her eyes as well. Our student’s pure joy and excitement at the prospect of performing was overwhelming – for him AND for me! What a reassuring comment for a new elementary teacher to hear, even if this boy didn’t realize it. This special moment is one of those little gems that remind us that what we do makes a difference and that it has a purpose. When I shared what happened with his mom last week, she assured me that her son would not forget the concert and his music teacher; I assured her that I would not be forgetting her son and the moment that he shared with me!
Have you ever had one of those moments at a concert or at any other time? Please share your experiences in the comments below!