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Monday, October 18, 2010

The Two Dollar Concert

by Jody Worsham
All rights reserved for hearing aid

When the three-year-old and her brother came to live with us, I learned early on that her favorite game was "Playing School." She would line her dolls and stuffed animals in a row and "teach school." Sometimes I would find the baby in his baby carrier facing the wall away from the "teacher." "He is in time-out. He forgot to use his inside voice," said the "teacher.

later, in kindergarten, the dolls took on the names of her classmates and I observed her again mimicking her teacher. One particular doll, "Jesse" was always in time-out. As the year progressed I heard Jessey's name screamed over and over. I'm sure Jesse will appear on the FBI's most wanted list sometime in the future, but in kindergarten, he seemed contented to just torment his teacher. i often wondered if this was the first year for the teacher or just the first year with Jesse.

Over the years I've learned to rely on the school activity at home to find out what was going on in their classrooms. no need for conferences, just observe the children playing school.

This year the nine-year-old went to a new school. With added activities, there was less time for the children to play school since they were so busy being in school. If I had any worries or concerns about what was going on in her classroom, these were laid to rest the afternoon of the $2 Concert.

That Saturday morning began with what I thought was the worst pounding headache I had ever had. The "headache" was the early morning fifty-gallon barrel concert being rehearsed in the yard by the two children. They had gotten up early so as not to miss any play time. They informed me that later on my husband and I would be invited to a concert, but first they had to practice.

As the early morning pounding turned into early afternoon pounding and rehearsals were not improving their performance, my husband managed to replace the big, log sized drum sticks with smaller branches more in the twig-stick-size range.

By five o-clock the nine-year-old informed me the concert was ready only she had kicked the five-year-old out of the band. We had reserved seats under the tree by the horse washing rack. She said tickets were $2. "Two dollars...for a concert I've been listening to all day?" I said. "Ok, it will be $1 per person since there is only one band member, me" said the musician turned business manager. We bought our tickets and took our seats.

As the plastic barrel boomed (she had replaced the small sticks with even larger tree limbs_ she sang her original song lyrics. I must say they were equal to many of the songs I had heard recently on the radio. The five-year-old, who was not happy about being fired from the band, added his interpretive dance, which was part ballet part karate, to the performance.

The concert lasted one minute. Well what can you expect for $1? Afterwards she passed out a hand printed opinion poll for us to complete.

1. What did you like best about the concert? Should I be honest and say short?

2. What did we do the best? Stayed occupied all day with the need for any kind of negotiated peace treaty?

3. What could we have done better? Used a smaller barrel?

4. What do you think we could do to be better next time? Take up mime?

Of course we were full of praise and filled out the "opinion poll" as any proud parent would.

Later, when my hearing returned, I realized she was using the same evaluative criteria that her school was using. That afternoon she had showed us that she was learning some valuable lessons, and we were again reminded of those same lessons. All creative work is of value and takes many forms. Even a one minute concert requires hours of rehearsal. No work is perfect and art is seldom finished. There is always room for improvement. Economics follows supply and demand even in the arts.

Not bad for a two dollar concert!


Sharon said...

So funny, Jody! Great learning experience for everyone. Sorry about the headache!
When I was about your daughter's age the next door neighbor and I put on a concert for a penny per person. We sang "How much is that doggie in the window?" and "The wayward wind." Off key, I'm sure.

Stacey said...

Very cute story! I always enjoy them when I have a chance to read!