The Music Teacher

violin fragmentEach week – often Thursdays – a man sings and plays guitar at the school. As I don’t understand the lyrics, my suspicion is that he sings traditional songs, always with great enthusiasm and expression. There are whoops and shouts, exclamations and whispers. The kids join in. Sometimes his songs must include creatures or ghosts or monsters as the kids are very quiet until he explodes into a verse or a cartoonish threatening sound or a growl, and then there are screams and squeals and laughter. He has one song in which he yodels and the neighbor’s dog joins in. Many songs are repeated each time he plays at the school.

He is likely paid for his efforts, but it’s obvious from his singing and the kids’ response to him that this is not labor, but love.

Practicing One’s Laughter

One afternoon after school was over, a number of children were waiting for their parents to pick them up. As he waited, one child who might have been five or six years old took it upon himself to practice laughing, which he did by varying ha-ha-ha-ha; he would switch the emphasis from ha-HA-ha-ha to ha-ha-HA-ha to HA-ha-ha-ha to ha-ha-ha-HA (sometimes repeating one version as often as he felt necessary until he seemed satisfied).

He also varied the number of ha’s so that sometimes there were three (instead of four), sometimes five. After he had exhausted all the variations, he went back and repeated them. More than once. He had me laughing hysterically.


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