The bell had rung. The students, more than eager to leave, trampled over each other and chairs racing head-long to the bus pick-up line which had suddenly become the universal symbol of freedom. As they and their tumultuous selves faded from view and (thankfully) ear shot, the following scene was born:
I have seen him only once before. Today he slipped past the mob and myself, heading straight for the piano. Fingers touching keys ever so lightly, he played a rag time. The echo from our rather old instrument filled the room with luscious tones and brought with it a sense of hope. Granted, my students are obnoxious and loud, unruly creatures of the day but that does not alter what Music is and has been in my life and the lives of so many, this young man being a prime example. Within seconds of unadulterated bliss, the melody ceased-its sounds a lingering memory-and the young man excused himself with the following phrase:
“I hope you have a lovely day.”
And I will, my friends. I will.
If ever a moment could be bottled away for a rainy day, I would that it be the moment this blonde haired, blue-eyed wonder of a human chose to share with me a piece of his happiness. Music, as I often find myself expressing to my students, should not be based solely on how it appeals to us or how it entertains, rather pleases our senses. Those are all wonderful aspects of Music which allow us to enjoy its many gifts. But there is a rather complicated and yet beautiful mystery to what Music does both in us and for us when used as a means to lift the fallen; or in my case, a rag time to revive a worn out teacher.
Prior to dismissal, my students posed a query concerning the many trophies that line a row of storage units in the far corner of the room. The most recent prize is dated at 2009 for their Gospel Choir and 2007 for their High School Chorus, more than 6 to 8 years ago. The students (being Freshmen) were alarmed to learn that other than a plaque for excellence from a Choral Festival, the remaining members of our Chorus did not have much of a legacy to leave behind. It swept silently and swiftly across their faces: this would be their fate.
And a moment was born.
“But that is their story, not yours. Music will give in return only what you are willing to invest. Next year, you will be sophomores and our Freshmen will look to you as the standard they should strive to meet; the legacy they should fight to uphold.” Pointing to the trophies, I stated, “But these will only be a shadow of what was achieved through the tireless efforts of many. Greatness did not come from winning a trophy; greatness was achieved first in this room and then acknowledged by many at those events. That is their story. What will be yours?”
So, what will be your story? Will you be the random, musical genius who tickles the ivories with some rag time treasures? Will you be the teacher looking for moments to birth? Or perhaps you are the soul dreaming of a legacy you think is out of reach?
Whatever it is, in the words of the Great yet famously unknown, “I hope you have a lovely day.”