Interpreting Tchaikovsky

A couple weeks ago in my special needs Hebrew Day School, I played a video of Tschaikovsky’s 1812 Overture.  The kids, in all age groups were totally turned on by it!  I wrote down the feelings the Overture gave us on the dry erase board.  Then I thought about what project we can do in the form of art that would express their feelings about it.  The students can make up a story to go with the melody and/or rythmns of the piece.  Not all kids are comfortable drawing so I told them they could write a story or a poem as well.  Most of them drew, the others wrote a stories.  No poetry.  A couple that had difficulty putting their thoughts down on paper, I assisted.

It has been awesome.  The one thing that stuck in many of the students’ minds was the conductor with the crazy hair, and of course the cannons and cannonballs.  Another student drew a graph of all the different melodies and moods of the overture.  Very creative!  Another wrote a paper about how any type of music and art doesn’t move him a bit.  One student drew pictures of the different moods of the music.  She divided the poster board in half.  One side was a battle, the other butterflies.  What an experience for me and for them.  I am going to hopefully display this wonderful project.

Other wonderful things have been happening.  The Memory Care Facility where I conduct a mini Shabbat Service has continued to be rewarding and now sad.  The married couple that comes every week that I wrote about in a previous blog made my day when the wife said the said the first logical statement to me which was,” You look pretty.”  I was so touched and surprised.  I usually converse with her by listening to her expressions and intonations.  There is more singing than ever now, but there is also some deterioration with a few of the residents.  I know it is part of the gig, but it is sad to watch.

Our grandson’s Bar Mitzvah ceremony is at the end of the month.  He is more than ready!  He is the first amongst our six grandchildren.  There is a lot of excitement in the air!

I am done making the booklet for the Bar Mitzvah Ceremony of my special needs student.  This is such a beautiful time for this family.  We are excited, a little nervous, and full of joy.  The young man loves to sing and we finally got him to the point that he is more willing to wear a tallit and a kipah.  We were not going to push it if he wouldn’t due to his sensory issues, but he came this week willing to put them on.  Our oldest son who works with young adults who have autism, asbergers, etc., said that the family should take him to a store a buy him his very own kippah and tallit.  Great idea!  I did not want them to spend the money just in case so, when he came to the house, I took out my basket of kippot and told him to pick out his very own.  He wore it a little while and took it off and on, but did better with it.  The tallit did not get worn.  I told Dad that every time he practices at home, to put a tallit on him after the blessing.  It worked! 

Great things happening!  Purim, Passover, and more!


About cantorrisa

I am a Cantor, Judaic Studies, and music teacher. I enjoy sharing my knowledge, and help people from young to old love being Jewish. I teach and sing in several synagogues and schools in the area. I officiate all life cycle events and teach students, children and adults, privately for their b'nai mitzvah ceremonies. I also enjoy studying Bible with all faiths either individually or in small groups (chevruta). I conduct Shabbat and High Holiday Services at K'hilat Bayt Shira and Senior Communities in the area. In my spare time, I teach key board and guitar. I am married to a wonderful man, have two children and six grandchildren. My hobbies are writing, playing and listening to music, learning, reading, crocheting and knitting.
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