Salaam to all,
Finished my first full week of the flute schools. After much cacaphony in the beginnging things have shaped up. By Wednesday I began each class with a flute class agreement. In this agreement I have required all students must be present for all classes unless excuse is reasonable, they must come on time and bring their materials to class, they must have homework assignments ready for me at the beginning of class, they must not talk or play during my instruction, and they must practice outside of their classes 2 days per week. If they do not abide by this agreement the students are out of the class. I had to put this agreement into place because 1. I have too many students wanting to learn, 2. They are so excited to learn this instrument and it is so new to them that they just can't help themselves and have to try to play the flutes, which then they loose half of my instruction, and I can't teach above all the noise. My voice is so tired at the end of each flute class it isn't even funny. And my patience is a bit wary.
So I figured I better set some ground rules so that I can get somewhere with the students. Since I have done this, I have had very orderly and productive classes. I have the students learning their first three notes, they know how to shape their embouchures, their posture and hand positions are looking great, they are studying their theory, and learning to read and write rhythm. So it has been very good for the latter part of the week. For their practice time, the students have to agree that they will check out the flute for their scheduled time, they must take care of the instrument during their practice time and they must clean and sanitize the flute after each practice session. I have made all students sign the class agreement and the practice agreement. This has been good because it has made them see how serious I am about helping them learn the instruments and the responsibility they are required if they wish to learn the flute. Because they are all so interested, they have abided with me without complaint. These Ethiopians are beautiful people, they do what I tell them and they work very hard. Now that things are a bit more orderly I believe their progress will run smoothly. I expected my first classes to have bumps in the road. I also knew they would be very excited.
For the general music classes, I have the 1-3 learning "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star," "Old McDonald Had A Farm" and "Head and Shoulders." The teachers love my input in their classes with the songs I present to them and it really helps them learn their English. For grades 4-6 (with the exception of the flute students) I have them learning "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" "Michael Row Your Boat Ashore" and "I know That You Know" (another round). I have the 6th graders learning the same as the 4th and 5th to help support the English and the strength in their singing. The 6th graders are also learning a couple of Ray Charles tunes "Hit Road Jack" and "Georgia" to help spice of their music classes. We haven't got the 6th graders started on the RC tunes yet but that will happen next week.
One of the 2nd grade classes we taught "Head and Shoulders" to this week, called us back into the classroom this morning after my other classes I instructed. They came out in 2's and sang the song. Very well actually, except they would say knees and toos (instead of toes) and sat (instead of seat which is used for bottom). When I taught them the song, I had the children slap their bottoms for when they said seat and I had them wiggle their hips when they said hips. It was pretty cute to watch them perform for me and mimick the words not quite saying them in full pronunciation, but as best as they could and to shake their hips. Then they sang Safia and I a thank you song that said I love you more than my ABC's and my 1,2,3's. We were touched by the sweetness of their voices and the sincerity of their song to us.
That's it for today, tomorrow, I go on a hike with 60 other students and 26 teachers. Actually its more like a mountain climb. Wish me luck.
Celine and Safia