Doves adorn the staircase to the middle school, twirling gently in the air currents, still exuding the active hope for peace expressed by the students who made them and arranged them. At the top of the staircase sits a totem pole, made by the class of 2019 back when they were seventh graders, expressing who they were at the time and thus, in many ways, who they are now. I walk into the middle school lobby, where soon enough kids will start to flood in, flopping on the chair and couch, half sitting on each other’s laps as they chatter about any- and everything that crosses their minds. I walk into my room, past the Black Lives Matter, Girl Power, and LGBT Safe space signs on the door, and arrange the blue beanbags in a half circle. Soon, kids will half-walk, half-run into the room and either drop their backpacks on their beanbag of choice, whirl, and return to the lobby, or drop down to relax and hang out with their friends as they arrive.
Blog title from a song by Nina Kauderer ‘20
Joan Armatrading and her Stratocaster. Bonnie Raitt and her Stratocaster. Avril Lavigne and her Telecaster. Chrissie Hynde and her Telecaster. Tal Wilkenfeld and her Precision Bass. Aimee Mann and her Precision Bass.
And don’t forget Anna and her own Stratocaster.
When you combine sound with goals, happiness, possibilities, you’ve got the perfect storm. - June Millington, from her TEDxShelburneFalls talk, “Rocking the Boat:How Playing Like a Girl Can Change the World.”
A guitar strums a four-chord progression. A bass joins in. A rat-a-tat-a-tat on the drums kicking off a solid backbeat. The first lyric, “With your feet in the air and your head on the ground. Try this trick and spin it, yeah.” (Where Is My Mind? by the Pixies) resonates through the gym. Last night’s benefit concert for Girls Rising was off to a great start.
As a Rock Band teacher, I try to keep my eye out for kids, especially girls, who have talent and whom I can help promote on social media. One such artist is Sina from Germany, a 16-year-old girl who first came to YouTube fame at the age of 14; her drum cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” now has nearly 3,000,000 views. Earlier today, YouTube recommended I listen to her (amazing!) international collaboration with two 12-year-old girls of the classic “Smoke in the Water”; it’s nearing 100,000 views after just three weeks.