That went way better than I expected!

I honestly walked into today (we’re all virtual) with no expectations. We’re in a rural county, we have lots of technology limitations, on and on. The fleet of bus drivers delivering food lined up outside my band room door to pick up food was pretty epic. A well oiled machine from the cafeteria workers… these guys rock!

Our superintendent started today’s rounds throughout the county’s schools at my classroom! 8:05 am, and he shows up, “How you doing, Chris? You ready?” Pretty awesome.

And, as I’ve said before, there are so many opportunities with this online format for the kids who traditionally dread the boredom of waiting for the rest of the class to figure it out… today was a huge confirmation of that hope!

**ping** (imagine Zoom office hours, first cup of coffee, 9 am-ish)

Me: Hey ___________! How are you? How was your summer?!

7th Grade Flute kid (imagine that awkward monotone drone of a 13 year old who doesn’t know if their voice is high or low yet…): Hello Mr. Szuba. My summer was fine. How was yours?

Me: Great man! How can I help you?

**long awkward conversation about if he can figure out the online learning platform, etc., etc., etc.**

Kid: Well, I have a question.

Me: Shoot.

Kid: I want to keep working on flute, but do you think you could help me if I got a DJ Controller?

**imagine me dropping my pencil and tilting my head to the side, an eyebrow creeping toward my receding hairline**

Me: ………. what do you mean? Like, a MIDI keyboard?

Kid: No, like an actual DJ Controller.

Me: Well, yeah, man! Of course. Do you have a DAW?

Kid: What’s that?

**I share my screen and show him what a DAW is and how to record tracks on Soundation, since it’s free and online-based**

Me: This is for your Chromebook… do you have an actual computer you want to do this on?

Kid: I have an actual computer. (still deadpan, but he’s talking faster, so I know he’s excited, too!)

**I’m getting excited, too! I go online to Sweetwater and pull up several electronic DJ Controllers.**

Me (super giddy): So, you mean you’re getting one of these, right?

Kid: Yeah.


I proceeded to talk with him for another 10 minutes or so about software and how a crossfader works and how we’re going to set up assignments so that every week I can check on his progress once he gets his gear.

Other stuff like this happened today, too! In my Contemporary Music class, one of my high school kids who’s interested in marketing is going to do a project where he publishes and markets his classmates’ work. I have another kid who messaged me today… she’s had writer’s block for three months but is determined to make an album and start horn lessons and… and… and!

I wonder if any of this creative blossoming would have happened if these kids hadn’t been put in a situation (epic global shutdown) where they really had to figure out what life was all about. I had a kid today on a zoom call who was so happy he could cry that he didn’t have to worry about bullies at school anymore. I haven’t seen him smile that big since probably January.

I know we’re all struggling to make this thing work, but man…

… this generation coming up might just be something special, guys.

God bless. 🙂