I want to share with you a brief window of our class today.
I have a student who is displaying what the social worker calls “trauma play”. Her mother is in rehab and her father, recently released from jail, is doing his best to put a life together for this girl and her two siblings. She is clearly intelligent, but due to the things she has witnessed and experienced, her language is delayed and she struggles for words to articulate her needs and ideas.
I brought out a tape recorder today to use while we worked on our libretto. The children were delighted with this wonder of technology! I gave them many opportunities to sing given lines from their libretto into the recorder. This little angel girl wanted to try, but she was very reluctant. I waited and prompted and encouraged her to give it a go. She finally did.
When I replayed their sounds back to the class, they were all thrilled! They recognized their own as well as their classmates’ voices. When my little one that I’m describing heard her voice she was jarred by the sound of it. I smiled at her and said, “Good work, Samara! You really did it!”
She sat there on the carpet, the wonder and delight of the experience slowly warming and spreading across her whole body. She kept stealing glances at me and I nodded my head at her and winked and told her again, “You did good work, Samara. I am so proud of you!”
Her countenance softened and she seemed to breathe deeper. It was the most beautiful thing!
Someone not long ago asked me, “So are you doing the opera again?” When I said yes, she said, “Wow! That’s a tough thing with kindergarten! Are you sure?”
I agreed. Yes, it is challenging. But I know what the opera experience provides and makes possible. To do less than that, when I know better, would be worse than malpractice. It would be a sin.
Thank you. Who you are makes a difference for children. I am honored by our association and appreciate the blessing of participating in this program.
Brigham City, Utah