I have just had a very excited J for a lesson. She could barely contain her excitement during her scales, and when she is so excited she laughs all the time ! Not so good for vowel shapes, but excellent for her spirits ! J has certain learning difficulties, which manifest themselves both physically and intellectually, she has cerebral palsy. This has never held her back from taking both Grade 1 and 2 exams, and now working towards Grade 3, or has stopped her being in the annual show. She is dedicated, persevering and an all round breath of fresh air in my music room.
She is a glowing example of what one can achieve when one has difficulties which will never improve, but with which one will always have a battle. She radiates joy almost all of the time, and has become an integral part of Inner Sound at every level.
Today was her last lesson before a wonderful holiday to Italy ! She leaves next Sunday for this trip, which will be, for her, amazing and thoroughly appreciated. She was at great pains to tell me though that she would indeed be able to practise right up until Saturday, as they don't leave until Sunday !
Singing is very important to many people, for the personal pleasure it brings, and the acquired ability to let oneself 'go'. Infact to have permission to be anyone one wants to be ! For J, that right to express herself and have such physical enjoyment is almost therapy - I would go as far as to say it is at least as important as, and maybe more important than anything the NHS ( however fantastic that is !) could offer her !
Opening up one's voice and letting rip is one of the most basic and primitive ways of self expression - it takes years to train as a classical singer, but the feeling of letting rip is just a strong when singing opera, musical theatre, rap or Jewish mouth music ! The key is the feeling of freedom.
It is one part of my job which through all my teaching life I have valued more than rubies. I know many inspirational teachers of all subjects, but I'll take a bet that none of them know what it feels like to be bombarded with sound waves from an uninhibited student who is having a ball ! Now that is priceless.
Have a fantastic holiday J, and come back even more full of joy than you were today.