Photo: Armando Gallardo
It’s nearly midnight on a Thursday, and I’m waiting in my car with my violin for the doorman to count the money and the guys to load up the gear. We had a fun show with great friends, but now the shine of the lights has started to fade and the sound of my alarm clock is looming. I have to teach music to roughly 150 elementary school students tomorrow and sitting at my desk with my headphones in is not an option.
I start thinking about the upcoming day which is sure to be filled with singing, dancing, shoe tying, tears, and at least one bloody nose. I cringe as I think about how many times I’ll have to sweetly say “are you making a good choice?”. My job is not easy even on the most rested of days. Tomorrow, thanks to this gig, I’ll be tired, frustrated, and curse the day recorders were invented. But I know that even on my worst day at school, I will still laugh out loud, get great hugs, and get to make music. And my kids make amazing music. Yes, it can be sloppy and loud, but we are working together as a small community for no other reason than to create music. Being a teacher allows me to be creative, patient, and kind all day. And even on the days when I come up short, I still get to go home feeling like I am working towards a greater good.
My mind turns back to the show. There’s no feeling quite like being up on stage. Seeing old friends and making new ones in the audience, communicating with my bandmates mid-song with just a look. Sharing this music that we’ve created together feels like sharing a part of your history with someone. So despite the challenges this can create with my job, here I am outside of a dark small bar till all hours.
The bond that I feel with my band members is a similar bond that my kids have with their classmates. We’re all in it together, even when it’s tough. I often tell my kids that being in a class is like being in a family. I have used the exact same words to describe being in a band. Some days you’re tired and cranky and you don’t feel like being there, but these people are counting on you and you know at the end of the day that you can count on them too. So as I sit in my car watching the guys lug the last of the gear I think that yes, tomorrow I’ll be tired, but this music and these memories are so worth it. And I know at the end of the school day tomorrow I’ll be thinking the same thing.