When I was a kid in Michigan, music class meant that we gathered our chairs around a piano and sang songs from a mimeographed lyric sheet. Maybe once in awhile the itinerant music teacher would pass out some tambourines and castanets.
Only now, all these years later as a mother in Japan, do I understand how lame all that was. We never learned musical notes or how to play instruments or the names of the great composers. Not during the regular school day.
Last week my daughter was thrilled to get a recorder and to begin learning how to play it. The kids at the deaf school also learn to play taiko – traditional Japanese drums – and perform at the annual culture festival. Before the recorder, my kids learned to play something called a harmonium.
I had a look at my son’s music class workbook and noted that he was learning about Bach and Beethoven. And although my hearing son has a dread of music class whereas my deaf daughter loves it (go figure), I’m so grateful that my children are being educated in the arts.