Darren Kennedy was looking forward to a spring evening filled with music, courtesy of his daughter and other Grade 6 students at Bayview Glen (BVG).
“I was expecting to file into the auditorium, sit down and listen to a few songs the students had learned, then leave,” says Kennedy.
He had no idea what would follow.
“I wasn’t the only parent surprised — the entire parent audience went silent,” he says.
About 20 minutes into the evening at the J.T.M. Guest Theatre at Moatfield Campus, the tables turned.
Prep School music teachers, Chris Hunsburger and Diane Drysdale made an announcement that suddenly thrust the parent audience into action.
For Kennedy, that meant a whole new experience, on a few fronts.
“My daughter was very excited to teach me how to play her instrument, the clarinet, knowing I had zero exposure to musical instruments,” he says.
Grade 6 Music Night featured a role reversal. Students became teachers for 15 minutes, tasked with teaching their parents a song on the students’ instrument.
“She taught me how to put the clarinet together, hold it, where to put my fingers for the three notes we learned, what a half and whole note were and how to read them on the music sheet,” says Kennedy referring to his daughter’s instruction. “She then taught me how to play Hot Cross Buns!”
Each parent-student pairing was dismissed to one of four nearby locations where mini, impromptu music lessons took place.
“I was very proud of how knowledgeable she was and her patience with me,” continues Kennedy. “She got the chance to make me do something I had never done before and call me by my first name, while I had to refer to her as Ms. Kennedy — transitioned to hilarity — as she watched me get red-faced as I couldn’t even get air into the instrument for the first five minutes, she sorted me out!”
The experiential learning evening for parents, however, was far from over. Another twist was on the way!
The student-teachers filed into the theatre seats, while their parents – more than 75 in all — assembled themselves on the stage for their debut performance.
“We NAILED it (at least in my head we did!),” says Kennedy.
And, as importantly, the performance met with his teacher’s approval.
“She was very proud that I ended up learning to play Hot Cross Buns with no squeaks and perfect timing, and that I was willing to go on stage and perform with the other parents.”
The evening also included other lessons learned for Darren Kennedy.
“It is obvious that the Bayview Glen instrumental music teachers take pride in having an exceptional music program that students enjoy participating in,” he says.
“Just to have the idea to have students teach their parents how to play their instrument AND have the parents come up to play what they learned, shows they are confident, fun, and not afraid to challenge those they teach — brilliant!”
And one more thing he says, “I also learned first-hand that playing the clarinet is not as easy as I thought it would be!”