Lessons from a Snow Day-Week

Updated: Feb 4, 2019

Greetings Musicians and Friends!

With an unprecedented week of school closings and hence the closing of our little music school The Piano Cottage this past week, as a teacher I felt like fish out of water. My husband Wright (also a music teacher) has never gone more than 48 hrs without a rehearsal of some sort, nor have either of us really gone more than a few days without teaching students (outside of a well planned week vacation here and there). So as nearly 100 cancelled lessons between us started adding up, in addition to multiple large rehearsals that could not be made up, things became a little worrisome in our home facing the reality of deadlines and performances looming ahead that we feared we may not be able to meet. We also missed the normal energy that fills our home and studio from musicians that electrify our daily lives with their visits, meetings and daily lessons. Everything inside and outside our home and business suddenly came to a cold, quiet halt on Monday as the busses, cars, phone calls, and practicing slowed and then stopped.

With our daily household routine obliterated into smithereens, our ears, interestingly enough, soon became tuned in to something other than tone, pitch and rhythm.

A few things we noticed this week:

1. That the "boring" heated bird bath gift received a few years ago was actually a "WOW" item when we suddenly had time to sit and observe quietly. Heated birdbaths often attach to your deck or table; so they are typically close to your home and offered extraordinary views of birds and squirrels like the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade! Appreciative wildlife we never noticed before were squabbling over the warm water for drinking and bathing. We counted over 20 cardinals one day on a 30-below zero windchill day!

2. Superintendents have a hard job. We applaud the W. Michigan sups for setting the clear standard of putting their staff, student, and parent safety first; day after day advising all to stay home and stay safe. Not since the Blizzard of '78 has GRPS and other districts been closed an entire week. Kudos to GRPS administrators and teachers, who ignited an army of volunteers to collaboratively work with Kids Food Basket to ensure that every child at GRPS still had access to a hot and healthy lunch and meal. Educator Superheros.

3. There's nothing better than a hot grilled cheese sandwich and chili or tomato soup on a snowday at the Choo Choo Grill. Georgia Suzy and I established this tradition when they were in elementary school and our tradition lives on!

4. That taking an afternoon nap is about the best thing in life. I used to think people my age that took daily naps daily were old or lazy. Now I've shifted my own thinking- Napping has such a beautiful and powerful effect on your system; it seemed to restore my tired sensitivity of sight, hearing, and taste. It reboots everything-- relieves stress and gives you a fresh start. Improves your emotional resilience and ability to function productively . Now I know that people who take them daily are not lazy but perhaps the smartest, most productive people I know.

5. Although kids LOVE snow days, I learned that more than that; they just LOVE having different unique learning experiences. We heard from students of their creative escapades during their snow week that were reading and swapping comic books around the neighborhood with their friends; creating an Odyssey of the Mind science fiction play with friends, entering contests on line, and another cooked a new recipe every day via Youtube culinary videos. Two siblings even cross country ski'd to my house and we had a wonderful unexpected lesson. They will certainly remember the unique days, experiences and lessons this week with a smile.

6. Hot Chocolate at piano lessons is a hit. I only had a few students this week but made sure the hot chocolate was on hand and ready to greet these warriors of the bench. How special it was to sit down with they and their parents to catch up and join in the spirit of snow day lessons.

For these educator-parents the change in routine could have threw us for a loop. Having the unexpected week of cancelations though allowed for "letting go", reconnecting, and taking some of the shackles off that are imposed by “the system,” and allowed the creative side to emerge again. Some amazing learning took place as we awoke to how powerfully educating it can be to let go of adult expectations and embracing being a kid with a treasured snow day again.

So thank you Mother Nature for this beast of a storm! (now please dont flood us this weekend! )

Yours in music, Mrs. Deems-McCargar

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