Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Walkin' Blues

Woke up this morning...

A dirty little secret of mine is that sometimes I don't have a lesson planned for the day until I'm dressing for work.

Feel round for my shoes...

It's idiotic, I know. But some days I need to be in the process of preparing to go to work before I can get my head in the place it needs to prepare to work. There are many times I sit at home and my mind is so separated from the context of the school that I just cannot think of useful lessons. Even worse, there are some days that I actually need the students in front of me to do so. It's a personality flaw, I know.

You know 'bout it baby, had them old walkin' blues...

One day last week I finally found the seed crystal that formed this idea as I was singing in the shower. We've been reading the play Fences, and one of the themes mentioned in the book is the idea of a dissatisfaction and wanderlust, particularly among black men in the post slavery world. The walking blues. The title of one of my favorite Robert Johnson songs.

I grabbed the guitar along with my briefcase and lunch on the way out the door and spent the commute rehearsing the lines. Next thing I knew I was tuning up as the kids filed in. I spent a quick couple of minutes reviewing the lines from the play talking about the walking blues, explained what it means in more concrete terms again, talked about the song for a minute, and launched into it.

I don't know if I've ever played to a tougher audience, but it worked. One of the classes liked it so much that we did it again, making it a sing along, and a couple of students in my other classes are asking me to bring the guitar in again. It's been a good week.


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