Posted by: jockmackenzie | May 6, 2010

Teachers Who Write – “Performin'”

thanks to for the images

I volunteered at the Kiwanis Music Festival this week and watched young musicians battle against nervousness as they performed. As I observed, I wondered how many would continue with their music. In fairness, the judging was (for two sessions out of three) superb. In one of the three sessions, the advice was well-intentioned but excessive. My poetic license took over and the curmudgeon judgin’ was born.


Jock Mackenzie
April 2010

My name is Stormin’ Norman;
I am all about performin.’
That’s not the way it always used to be.
I was Norman, quiverin’ moron,
Wide awake all night ‘til mornin’,
When standin’ on the stage awaited me.

Sweatin’ bullets, knees a’ shakin’,
Thoughts of oopses I’d be makin’,
As confident as Wrong Way Corrigan.
Yes, begrudgin’ of the judgin’,
Bein’ told by some curmudgeon
About the things I really should have done.

My dynamics needed delving,
And my subdividing shelving,
My forté needed more fortissimo.
With embellishments too tiny,
Kinda dull instead of shiny,
And on and on and on the judge would go.

But I persevered in playin’,
In displayin’ ways of sayin’
What it was I had in mind to play.
All the comments, criticisms,
Never heard before opinions,
Opened many different doors along the way.

No more solitude, no quiet,
Now I’m brave enough to try it.
I’ve learned to boldly step before a crowd.
Like I say, “I’m Stormin’ Norman;
My raison d’être is performin’!”
I’m a player and I’m front and centre proud.

*** A challenge for all teachers is seeing that students get multiple opportunities to “perform” for others. Small groups are a great beginning and allow kids to do magic tricks, tell string game stories, create origami, share jokes, etc. – and they don’t even realize they are, in fact, “performing.”

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