It’s almost Christmas. Who gets gifts from their students at the end of the year? Chocolates, lollies, maybe even some wine?
It’s great to see the students willing to thank us for the year’s musical journey.
When I started getting swamped with Christmas gifts I figured I better join in the fun. I personally buy a couple of bags of treat size Cadbury or Whittaker’s chocolates and give them to the students at the end of the year. If they did an exam or were totally on to it, I let them have one of each (yeah, how generous am I?)
The gifts aren’t necessarily limited to the end of the year though. Just last Saturday the drum teacher got given a KFC Combo (or was it Burger King, or Maccers or something). Anyway, score! I got a banana and sushi once but I think the seaweed might have been a bit ripe. It put me off sushi for a while.
Us poor wind players can’t go eating all that good stuff straight away though or else half of it goes through the instrument. I played in the local theatre company’s production of My Far Lady once and joked that we got paid in chocolate biscuits. Just try and play an exposed clarinet solo after the break with a mouth struggling to wash away the crumbs! That must have been why that really good flute undergraduate music student always brushed his teeth before a Friday lunchtime concert.
I think my first clarinet teacher couldn’t believe his luck when my mum regularly baked ginger crunch for him. Now that’s definitely something you wouldn’t want to eat until classes are over.
Some of the best gifts though are the cards. I’ve had some really appreciative ones from older students who’ve just passed grade 8 and move on to other things the following year. That being said, I think the best compliment I got was from a student studying at the same school as one of my former grade 8 students (I didn’t teach him for his last year at high school). He obviously had a reasonably senior position in the school orchestra and the more junior student said: “Wow, there’s so much of your teaching style in him.” (We’ll, I’m assuming this was a good thing).
It’s great to know that all those 30 minute blocks of musical chaos have a positive influence. At least enough to encourage chocolates.