The tykes have a play to go to tomorrow in the morning so instead of having a planning day today like I "usually" do, instead I taught nursery classes. And since today was my first rehearsal with the Salomon Orchestra (an amateur group I'm playing with on Oct. 20th) I brought my bass along.
And thus began the trail of ridiculous mishaps.
First of all- it's been pouring down rain for two days. This means roads are flooded and the tykes haven't been outside. Both are important as it means that buses were diverted and the tykes were squirrelly.
I knew I had to take my bass with me so I started out a good 15 minutes before I normally do. I was surprised to see a 254 coming down my road but thought "hey! door to door service!" so I hopped right on, belatedly realizing that the sign on the front said that it was going in the opposite direction of where I needed to be heading. So I hopped off as soon as I could, carried my bass in the rain back to the proper stop, and proceeded to wait for 20 minutes for *my* bus. 20 minutes was an awfully long time and there *were* all those diverted buses, so I actually called TFL to see if my bus was on diversion. Nope! It'll be right there! You just have to be patient because of rush hour! So I waited. Right up until a kindly bus driver poked his head out the door and said "are any of you waiting for the 106? It's diverted!"
Thanks TFL. You're awesome.
So a kindly lady walked me over to where the bus would be heading off from (I don't normally take the 106, so I wasn't sure where we were heading precisely) So there we go- 45 minutes after leaving my house I was finally on my way!
So I get to school and Linda had made muffins! Brilliant. And they were super tasty too- carrot cake like with courgette and sultanas (um, or zucchini and raisins depending on which country you're from). Linda and I had a quick chat, I had multiple quick tune ups of the bass, and off we went! Teaching time!
The tykes, as I previously stated, were squirrelly. But it's all good because we started on High and Low today! Which actually, I'm super excited about because I haven't tried teaching that before and it's a new explorative experience. (Yes, explorative. Totally a word.) We curled up in to balls on the ground when the sound was low and stood up tall on our tippie toes and reached our hands to the sky when the sound was high. Then, because they were squirrelly, I made them do this again and again and again. Because music class should always encompass a bit of calisthenics as well.
Then I brought out the BASS. This was not as exciting for them as one might have hoped. They actually thought it was scary. Totally didn't feel like listening. So instead I made them bounce and bounce and bounce and stop! for the last 15-20 minutes of class. I don't know how that one hasn't gotten old yet...
So the second nursery class we did high and low and we reached and rolled and I brought out the bass and huh. They couldn't tell if the bass was low or high. I think legitimately couldn't tell- like on the xylophone they're used to the sound enough that it's all cool- but the bass? Is a completely alien sound and timbre. Particularly because of the gut strings. No matter- they gave it a go- each of them played a bit on the bass (i.e., dragged their grubby little fingers across the strings) and then, because they were announcing that they wanted to put on a little show- we put on a little show. We practiced being good audience members and listened carefully as people were singing.
Here's what was interesting though- anyone remember "Alf is and Ant" from last term? It was one of the songs from Parent's day last term and man! was it ever a big hit. But some of the kids singing it today? They weren't here last year...So I asked the teachers, "did you teach the rest of them 'Alf is an Ant'?" No, no they said- J. taught them.
Little 4 year old J. Who can sing all of "Mama Mia" with appropriate dance moves. Taught the rest of the class his favorite song. Awesome.
Then we danced around a bit and did tall shapes and wide shapes and small shapes before I panicked a little because it sounded like one of the tykes had managed to get behind me and smack the bass pretty hard. J. was the only tyke behind me so I said "no! don't touch the bass!" and he felt bad and apologised almost immediately (which normally is not the case.) So I said thank you for the apology and thought no more of it until I was packing up to head to the third nursery class.
It turns out that probably J. had touched the bass- but the big sound? That was the G string snapping.
So you know how I had a rehearsal this evening? Now I was one string short. So I called Peter up and he said I should just use a modern steel string for the moment and directed me to the closest music store.
But first I taught the third nursery class where they all decided the bass was a monster! And I showed them that it was bigger than two! of! their! TALLEST! classmates! Which was pretty impressive. All of this while I am taking the G string off of the tuning peg. So much for lesson plans- lets show you kids instrument surgery!
During lunch I went to the first store- but did they sell bass strings? Nope. Fortunately Peter's number is saved in my phone (I should probably put him on speed dial or something like that) so I called him up again and proceeded on a mission to Piccadilly Circus where I found a totally cute music shop and was able to buy a new string AND multiple rubber tips for my end pin- which is great because I keep losing them on public transportation.
So there we go.
Oh! And I taught at the new school too where not only could they hear high and low, but they also heard and were able to differentiate between middle sounds, trolls (crotchets/quarter notes), and goblins (quavers/eighth notes)! I was so proud!