Last week I visited the Friends School where my buddy Chad teaches 3rd and 4th grade. Chad was doing a unit on sound and acoustics with his kids this year, and asked me to come in to talk to his kids about how the flute works and about being a professional musician.
I've done lots of presentations for kids before, and I usually play The Great Train Race by Ian Clarke, a contemporary flute work that uses extended techniques almost exclusively to create the effect of a choo-choo train racing down the tracks at high speed. Kids (and adults, I might add) really love the piece, which is why I play it at school presentations. It was great fun, and Chad's class was really engaged and excited to learn, which made them easy to talk to.
I almost always receive a thank-you card from the class and the teacher, but rarely have I received as many cards in the mail from the kids as I did this time, like the one from Juliet pictured here. It was like a warm hug to get a giant envelope stuffed with tons of hand-drawn cards, and it reminded me why sharing the gift of music is such a special powerful experience. The pressures of being a professional musician can at times really run you down, despite the many joys of music-making. But thanks to the 3rd and 4th grade classes at the Friends School I'm feeling cheerfully revitalized!