Exhausting and Exhilarating

The High Holidays were exhausting and exhilarating.

Exhausting because I conducted services for three different  senior communities, exhilarating because I conducted services for three different senior communities.  Each community different culturally.  I sang Kol Nidre seven times!

One, is the Memory Care Facility I have been at for about three years now.  I have grown a lot while working there.  We have grown a lot in the amount of people that come, and joy.  I go there every Friday, make a circle, or an oval, and we have a very musical service with Kidish and Motzei afterwards.  For the High Holidays, the circle was broken.  I was put into the Club House Room and I conducted the services frontal.  Not good!  We went from upbeat singing, hand clapping, toe tapping, and laughter to almost nothing.  Residents could not really focus even though I had a mike.  I was told that that is where I would be conducting services for now on.  I spoke with the director and told her that moving Shabbat Services into that room would be a huge error because we have grown so much regarding participation.  With me sitting and playing guitar in a smaller room in a circle, the residents can focus on me and I can manipulate them enough for them to really use their brains.  They move parts of their bodies to the music and they sing.  They are wittier and at times I am cracking up laughing.  We all laugh.  More extended family is joining us!  We are now continuing in the smaller space we wanted.

My second senior community, is unique.  There is a large Jewish population there as demonstrated at the Passover Seder I conducted, but we get very few people at Shabbat Services which annoys the few that come.  We have tried everything!  I went from accapella to playing guitar.  People that complained there was too much Hebrew i added more English for.  We went from pamphlets my predecessor used to sidurim, prayer books, that I got donated.  They still don’t come; but we have a great service with prayers, singing, discussions, wine, and my husband’s famous chocolate chip challah. The High Holidays were better than last year because we had Machzorim, High Holiday Prayerbooks.  Again, a wonderful donation!

The third community I have been at for 17 years.  We have a traditional Friday night service, although I added guitar around 6 months ago.  There is a balance between Hebrew and English. We have gone through transitions.  We also have an interesting situation.  In the All Purpose Room where I conduct services, we usually get a nice crowd, although, again, there is a fairly good size Jewish population. In the lobby, there is another crowd every Shabbat, a smaller group of people.  The sit outside our service, listen to the service and schmooze.  After the service I always offer my other minyan to join us in the oneg.  I want them included no matter whether they join us or not.  In fact, maybe in their way, they do join us.  We had a pretty good showing for the evening High Holiday Services between residents, extended family and my annual service comers, but it was weak this year because the papers did not include us.

When I am asked why more people do not come, I tell them that not everybody feels the need for prayer.  Many do not understand community, k’hila.  At the senior communities, there are choices.  Playing cards, movies, or just staying in their rooms. There are people who cannot come down.

As you can see, I am not comfortable calling these places nursing homes.  I call them senior communities.  The term nursing homes sounds like it is the last stop before seniors pass away.  In many cases  it is, but they are still communities.  I think calling these facilities senior communities gives the residents more dignity, more respect.

Another year, new adventures, new experiences are on the way.

I wish you all a Shana Tova, a happy, wonderful, year.

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High Holiday Sermon – Chutzpa

Sermon
Chutzpa

Chutzpa is a Yiddish word originating from the ancient Hebrew language. The first mention of Chutzpa was 2000 years ago in the Mishna, oral law used to clarify Torah law, which was written down.

I believe the word chutzpa is used negatively too many times when speaking about a person or a situation. For example, Delores had chutzpa wearing the same outfit as me to the wedding; or Eddy had chutzpa not calling me to cancel our appointment, he just didn’t show up! Another example, children have more chutzpa today than years ago when it comes to behaviors at school and at home.

The word Chutzpa has several meanings: nerve, audacity, boldness, impudence and irreverence. The Hebrew root word means, “to bare.” I can see that. What we had to bare for more than 5000 years of Jewish existence had to take a lot of chutzpa because, we are still here!

In today’s world I think the word is used positively as well. We all know about bad chutzpa, but good chutzpa is one of the first rules of behavior cited in the Shulchan Aruch, the classic codification of Jewish Law. The words of the Mishna states, “Be fierce as a leopard,” the code tell us this means that when you go about doing all those Jewish things that Jews do, you should not feel the slightest embarrassment before those who ridicule you. You do not have to call them names, you do not have to react at all. Just keep on doing what you have to do as though they do not exist.

To be a good person, you need two opposites: A sense of shame that prevents you from acting with chutzpa to do the wrong thing, and a sense of chutzpa that prevents you from being ashamed to do the right thing.

Our first fore-father, Abraham had a lot of chutzpa. He argued with God over His plans to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah.

Moses had a lot of chutzpa too. Moses argued with God to save us, even when we were undoubtedly wrong. He also had a lot of chutzpa when God wanted to hire him for the job as our leader and he kept on coming up with excuses as to why he should not lead us out of Egypt.

Our second King of Israel, King David, had enormous chutzpa. He could not conceive how anyone could be afraid of the giant warrior, Goliath, who was bullying and embarrassing the Jewish nation.

Let us move forward in history:

The Baal Shem Tov, founder of the Chassidic movement had no sense of fear of anyone or anything other than God. Those who knew him said if a lion would jump out at him, he would not flinch.

Rabbi Shmuel of Lubavitch defined the kind of chutzpa that the leaders of Chabad implemented in their fight against Czarist oppression, and later, Boishevik anti-religious persecution. “Just go over it,” meaning, no matter what they do, not matter how ominous it looks, just keep your locomotive steaming straight ahead as though there’s nothing in your way.

The Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, several times insisted that we need a leopard’s fierceness and locomotive with “just go over it” power when dealing with the world. For one thing, we need to walk right over the challenges that confront us living our heritage in a secular world, pushing us from all sides to “just be like everyone else.”

How about today? We find that the leadership of the Jewish communities for example, rabbis, cantors, federation executives, are facing a number of challenges. Recent demographic studies reveal that the next generation of Jewish adults is radically different from earlier generations; and they are challenging the Jewish community to rethink its approach and its messages. The studies point out that these Generation Xers were born and raised in a post-racial America where they have experienced very little or no explicit anti-semitism. They move effortessly through a multi-cultural society where they have benefited from and have embraced modern American values like equality for all people. Many of them feel proud to be Jewish, but they also feel very comfortable among their friends of every race and religion. We are finding the messages that worked in previous generations do not work with this younger crowd. Many, many are not motivated to participate in synagogue functions and many other Jewish community functions.

It is probably time for us to use “chutzpa” in a different way. We need to “listen.” Younger Jews are telling us what worked for us is not working for them; therefore, we need to listen as to what will work for them. We need to pause and reflect. Who did that? Moses.

Korah and 250 others rose up in rebellion against the authority of Moses and Aaron. Korach said, “Rav lecha,” You have gone too far! For all the community are holy, all of them, and Adonai is in their midst. Why then do you elevate yourselves up over Adonai’s community?” (Numbers 16:3)

This took chutzpa! Moses, with his brother Aaron are the guys who lead us out of Egypt! Around 1 to 2 million of us!!

You might think that Moses would respond with anger, but in verse 4, it says that he listened and he fell on his face. Why did Moses fall on his face? It may be because Korah was a priest as well. Even though Moses was the chosen leader, even though Korah had the chutzpah to approach Moses in the manner that he did, there was some truth to what he was saying and Moses listened. To me that is chutzpa as well. Taking a step back for a moment and listening, analyzing the situation instead of possibly behaving according to his first initial reaction which may have been to explode of throw a punch. It takes chutzpa to take a step back.
Let us take a step back this year. Let us follow Moses’ lead. Listen! Use chutzpa to make a positive impact in our families, in Judaism, in Israel, here at the Court, in our communities. And let us say, Amen.

Compiled and written by Cantor Risa Askin.

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High Holiday Sermon

Sermon Yom Kippur
My Home
I feel very fortunate to have been to Israel several times since 1999.
I will never forget my first trip. My husband, Ron, and I went for our 25th wedding anniversary. I could not believe that I was finally going to see our Homeland, our Promise Land, the State that I teach children about year after year. Everywhere I went I had to touch things, even in museums! My husband for three weeks kept on repeating, “Put your hands in your pockets!” I was like a child in a supermarket. I had to touch everything our ancestors touched!
Ron and I went back three years later on a Hadassah mission with colleagues and friends during the Second Intifada, which was part of Operation Defensive Shield. It was a wonderful experience getting to areas we did not have the opportunity to visit on our first trip. Many of our friends and acquaintances questioned our decision to go. We had absolutely no concerns.
In 2005, I had one of the most memorable experiences of going back to our Home. I studied at the Fuchsburg Yeshiva in Jerusalem. Ron and I rented an apartment for one month. Ron stayed with me the first two weeks and he hiked in different parts of our land while I was attending classes. I met many wonderful people of all ages from around the world, and I am still in contact with a few from time to time. During my stay, things in Israel got even more heated. Some parents demanded that their children leave the Yeshiva and go home. I never felt any danger. I walked the streets with others all hours of the day and night.
Some of my other trips were teachers’ conferences, Ron’s business trips, and this last visit over the summer was to see our youngest son and family. They made Aliyah July, 2013. I was there for a teachers’ leadership conference at the same time.
Whenever I get to go Home, I feel like I can breathe the second I get off the plane. That is the only way I can explain my constant need to return whenever I can. I need that shot of reJEWvination whenever I can get it! I feel like I belong, I feel like I am HOME!
Israel is not a foreign country; it is not like going to Italy, France, and Spain. Israel is our Home; it is our Promise Land. That is why we are always concerned about Her when we hear things on the news like the war this past summer. We get emotional. Disagreement runs deep in the Jewish community and conversations challenge our deeply-held beliefs about Jewishness and Jewish identity, Zionism, anti-semitism, universalism, and particularism, and our minority status as American Jews. It is difficult when you have grown up with certain beliefs, or you have embraced a particular identity and some comes along and questions these.
It is funny, before my first trip to Israel, I could not join in any of the conversations or debates. I would just sit back, listen, and learn the different opinions and facts about my Home. I felt out of the loop; I felt like an outsider. Now I feel like I can speak up. But, do I have the right to have an opinion for a state I do not live in (yet)? Do we, in the diaspora, have the right to have an opinion for a state we do not live in? Why not construct a less messy and less conflict ridden Judaism rooted in study and prayer or one focused on less divisive social justice issues?
I came to realize that we do a disservice to our community if we try to dodge such an important issue as Israel. As American Jews, we are part of a larger Jewish community that is intricately connected to Israel, whether we embrace that or not. Israel is so bound up with Jewish life and community, with our sacred texts and prayers, with our history and our future. American Jews are interconnected with Israel in ways unimaginable in the past. As an American Jewish community, our voices matter.
When I teach our children I feel more comfortable for example, When teaching the Tanach (Torah, Prophets, and our Writings). I can say that I have been to this place or that place. I feel more comfortable teaching Israel to our children.
I can have an opinion about Israel and feel in the loop when discussing our State with others.
During the year, 5775, let us do our own soul-searching in order to articulate our own beliefs and talk constructively about our Homeland, our State, our Promiseland, Israel.
G’mar chatima tova – may you be sealed for a good year.
Written by Cantor Risa Askin

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From Young To Old

I have been having the time of my life!  New adventures, new students; and a very busy schedule.

I started the new school year at the private pre-school, Cambridge. I have teaching an outreach class called, “Jewish Traditions,” for the past six years.  They lost their music teacher last March and asked me to come aboard after loosing one of my main employers due to budget cuts.  What a great time I was having there!  They asked me to continue this year.  I don’t have to schlep from school to school, no more 50 miles round trips anymore.  My new school is 4 miles away and I could not be happier teaching children from toddler to 5 years old.

I am having a blast there.  The kids are great, as well as the teachers and administration.  It is purely secular music, but I am still very happy.  I am bringing in different genres; and will be teaching rhythm and instrument families.  I have taught Beatle songs that the kids love; I am now teaching The Banana Boat Song, and once that is completed, I will add instruments to it because it has an awesome rhythm.

On Fridays I conduct services at three senior communities from mid afternoon to the evening. At Harbor Chase Memory Care, we have outgrown our space!  We will be moving to a different room this Friday.  More residents AND their families have been joining us for a very upbeat musical service with Kidish and Motzei.  We have a great time singing, clapping hands, joking, and tapping our toes.  One of the residents this week was bobbing one of her shoulders up and down in a sexy way in time with the music.  What jokes and laughter came from that!.  I have a gentleman that tries to hit my high notes every week and he can!  We have a great time! 

Every other Friday I get to pray while looking at the ocean!  The perfect location for a senior community called, Five Star Premier of Pompano Beach!  The room that I conduct Shabbat services gives us a great view.  When I get to pray silently I look at the Ocean and thank God for the beauty God gives us. Most of the time, it is all female residents that come in. and they are a little more serious and love discussions.  We can use “A Few Good Men!”

I have been at the Court At Palm Air now for 17 years!  Friday nights I get to bring in Shabbat with my extended family.  This is how I feel being there for so long.  This community likes a more traditional service even though they enjoy my guitar playing.  Even more, they enjoy when I take our grandson to help me conduct services.  If he does not come for a few weeks, they threaten me!  LOL

This year I will be conducting High Holiday Services at all three communities!  I cannot believe how many times I will be singing Kol Nidre! LOL 

I continue teaching great Jewish music to Temple Beth Torah Shaaray Tsedek (TBTST) in Tamarac.  I am excited for another year of fun, learning, and laughter with the kids and my colleagues. 

Oh!  I will be conducting my Meditation Services at TBTST the last Shabbat of every month.  They have been going so well, and everybody is welcome!  You do not have to be a member to join us!  If you want any information please contact me.

My private students consist of children from very soon, 3 through B’nai Mitzvah.  This year I am teaching guitar and soon keyboard to a very young man who shows a maturity educationally and personally to Bar/Bat Mitzvah students.  I am teaching a brother and sister team who live in Colorado via SKYPE.  I will be flying there in June to conduct their ceremony.  

I am excited about bringing in the new year, 5775 with so many people from young to old.

I certainly will not be bored this year with all the different things I am doing! 

Happy New School Year everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I Was Not Afraid

Are you still going to Israel? 

Aren’t you afraid to go to Israel with everything that is going on?

Are you cancelling your trip?

The questions kept coming and coming, but my answer was always the same.  I am still going.

Ron and I have been to Israel before during difficult times without hesitation.  How can we not go?  It is our Home.  It is the Promise Land.  Not going would be a slap in the face to our brothers and sisters who day in and day out pray for quiet; just to be able to live their lives.  Not going would be a contribution to our opponents getting what they want, which is for us to suffer as they are trying to obliterate us.

I could not wait to go on the plane.  I was so excited that Ron was able to go with me this time because our youngest son and family made aliyah last July.  Last year when I went on the Mofet Leadership Program, Ron did not join me.  I felt so bad that he could not come Home with me. 

When I get off the plane in Tel Aviv, I could breath.  I can’t explain it.  I can just breath.  Yes, we had some cell phone complications, so traveling in our rental car to Maalot Tarshiha was a little nerve racking, even with an antiquated GPS; but I can still breath.

Our son, family, Ron and I went to Rosh haNikra, Tel Dan, and other places.  We experienced, somewhat, life in Maalot.  Ron and I listened to our grandchildren switch quickly from English to Hebrew when a friend came over.  I listened to my son use Hebrew.  I got to use my Hebrew, even some I have never used before.

During our visit I spoke with a friend of mine who spends her summers in one of my favorite places, Fuchsberg Yeshiva.  She shared with me that this summer has been a very emotional summer in so many ways.  As far as I know, she has had to look for shelter 4 times in Jerusalem due to rocket fire.  Her family in Tel Aviv did not want her to visit because G-d forbid, something would happen while being en-route to and from.  My friend had to wait several weeks before she saw them. 

When we settled into our son’s apartment, my husband downloaded the Red Alert App which tells people when the sirens are going off and where.  It helped keep us abreast as to what is going on and where.  Although we were not running for shelters (by the way, our oldest grandson’s bedroom is a bomb shelter), my heart would skip a beat whenever the phone would go off.

The last day, our daughter-in-law drove us to Nahariya, to the train station.  Ron and I spent the day alone in Tel Aviv to take in the Mediterranean and walk around.  We had a lovely time.  On the way to the airport, 2:30 AM, the sirens went off while we were in the cab.  We saw people pulling over and ducking between the cars and the highway walls.  The cab driver asked Ron and I if we wanted to pull over.  I told him he is the expert, I trust you know what to do.  He did pull over, but felt the bomb was not going to effect us; therefore, we continued on. 

I was not afraid.  I was very surprised at myself.  I had faith in G-d, the IDF, and felt no fear.  The emotions I felt was more sadness, anger, and that I am about to abandon my Home and my people.  I have been at my Florida home since Tuesday evening and I still feel like I abandoned my Homeland.  My friend at Fuchsberg and I were texting back and forth and she said the same thing.  She is having difficulty with coming back to Florida because she feels the same way.

As I said previously, I feel I can breath when I am Home, even with everything that is going on.  I asked my daughter-in-law when we were alone how she felt.  She said except for the transition and some bureaucracy, she feels like she can breath.

People ask me why I don’t make Aliyah.  Our oldest son and family lives 8 minutes from us and does not want to move to Israel.  This is very difficult for me.  If they went, I would go immediately.  I know Ron wants to.  I believe I will make the move one day. 

Right now, I believe my job is to teach about Israel with my students, and anybody I can.  Keep doing what I am doing as an educator and get people excited about being Jewish.

I need to keep praying everyday for our Homeland, for everyone’s safety and pray that eventually there will be quiet so we can live our lives.

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Finding Your Beshert

Today I had the privilege of officiating a wedding ceremony after the couple’s wedding ceremony.  That’s right!  The reasoning behind this is one of the most beautiful reasons.

At Harbor Chase Memory Care, where I conduct a weekly Shabbat service, there is a husband who attends my service with his wife who is a resident.  I blogged about this couple when I first met them because their love for each other is so obvious. They hold hands and still look into each other’s eyes with love and friendship.  The resident’s husband visits every afternoon and I don’t think he has ever missed a day. 

One of the couple’s sons was getting married and I was asked a few months ago if I would perform a mini wedding ceremony at Harbor Chase because the groom’s mother is not able to go.  I was so affected by this request, so amazed.  Of course I agreed to do it!  As time progressed the groom and I spoke about what he wanted and how I would assist.  He sent me a write up of how they met and some of their background regarding careers, and more.

The couple got married last night in Miami and this afternoon we had the mini ceremony surrounded by family and close friends. While standing under a chupah, I read an appropriate prayer for their recent marriage; recited the Y’varech’cha (blessing for the wonderful couple), spoke about what the groom emailed to me.  I also spoke about how I believe that this couple found their beshert, that they are soul-mates.  I felt this friendship between them.  I am confident that this couple will have the marriage that the groom’s parents have.

What left such an impression on me was the fact that this couple wanted to make sure that their simcha, happy occasion included the groom’s Mother.  A new dress was bought for her; a corsage; and her hair was cut.  There was a photographer there.  We had a private room for this very special occasion. 

I was asked to sing the Mother’s favorite song, Dayenu.  I found a way to tie it into the ceremony most appropriately.  Everyone sang and the groom’s Mother was smiling from ear to ear.

We recited the blessing over the wine and  did motzei, the blessing over bread for the challah.

We cried tears of joy and laughed.  What a beautiful hour!

Everything was well thought out and planned, taking place without a glitch.   

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Passing the Mike

Whenever possible, my grandson, Ethan, accompanies me to my Friday night service at the Court At Palm Aire.  He assists me in conducting services. 

Every time he comes, he knows more and more prayers and I do not mind passing the microphone to him.  He really enjoys going with me.  He had a choice to go to our synagogue for a family Shabbat dinner or coming with me.  He chose to go with me.  I really was surprised.  What a mitzvah!  The seniors adore him! If he misses to many weeks, believe me, I hear about it!  Ethan brings joy into their lives.  

Another reason I do not mind passing the microphone is because he is the generation coming up, where the topic of conversation is: how to we keep people engaged in synagogue life? How do we keep children involved in our Religious Schools and youth groups? How do we keep their parents coming into the building. I see a child, Ethan, who really considers his synagogue his second home.

My drive to teach Judaic Studies, Hebrew, and Jewish Music, is to help people enjoy and love being Jewish.  My goal is to keep on doing this for as long as I can.  We need to love who we are and that includes loving to be Jewish.  The only way to accomplish this is to be educated.  Going to Religious School; being involved in youth groups; coming to services whenever possible; parents and grandparents continuing to learn through adult education.  In other words, be part of the community.

A synagogue will be officially merging with us this summer, and I just read on Facebook that another synagogue in New York is closing.  An acquaintance of mine is helping to pack it up.  How sad.  I actually felt an ache in my heart.

I don’t want to see this, I don’t want to hear about it.  I know neighborhoods change, I know attrition takes place, but somehow we have to join forces and try to keep this from happening as much as possible.  I am realistic to say that many people are not interested in synagogues.  We cannot make them join, but I think what we need to do is somehow, some way, give Jewish moments that will hit them, make them think, make them want outside of the four walls of the synagogue, then hopefully, eventually, they will want to join. 

Another problem I think we are having and will get much worse, is that we will not have anybody that will be able to say Mourners’ Kaddish for us.  I saw this yesterday while conducting a Memorial Service.  I could see some people feeling uncomfortable because they could not recite all the words; and I recite Kaddish slowly.  This is the lack of Hebrew education and I even had the transliteration on the paper.

Jewish Education is being cut short.  Many synagogues have gone to one day a week, and I believe more is on the way.  I know it is better than nothing, but we contribute to the lack of knowledge of who and what we are.  We contribute to people not coming into our buildings.  We contribute to our children not feeling like the synagogue is our second home. We also contribute to the lack of Jewish identity.

I want to be able to keep passing the mike to confident future Jewish leaders.  Help us do this!

 

  

 

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Blessed

I constantly say how blessed I am with what I do for a living. 

How many people can wake up in the morning and say they love what they do?  Yes, sometimes I feel overwhelmed; overly anxious; and there are times I have difficulty getting myself to work; but, I do feel blessed.  Why?

I get to teach and sing with people of all ages!

I conducted several Model Passover Seders and Passover Seders this year with children and adults.  From the music to the questions, to the discussions, the Seders were so inspiring.  In one of the children’s model Seders, when asked why we have salt water on the tables, a six year old told me it was to remind us of the sweat of the slaves, not the tears, but the sweat.  That was a “DUH” moment for me.  I learned the salt water symbolized the tears the slaves shed, and that was what I always tell people, but never really thought about the perspiration.  Another student asked me why we only use the pinky to take the joy out of our glasses of wine for the 10 plagues. A wonderful question! I told the student that I don’t think there is a written law for that, but I would look it up, and I did.  I read that it was originally the pointer finger, symbolizing the finger of God.  The adults asked questions as well.  How long ago did this story take place?  Is this fiction or non-fiction? 

At one of my Shabbat Services I was asked where all these prayers came from?  What a discussion came out of that!

I love singing and I love teaching, facilitating, discussing.  I love being with people of all ages.  I do feel blessed!

 

 

 

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Out Of Thee Mouths of Babes

Teaching children of all ages music, Hebrew, Judaic Studies, Torah, and more allows me to listen to what they have to say.

I was studying the holiday of Passover with one of my 10 year old private students.  While learning about the symbols of the Seder Plate she shared with me her thoughts about God.  She told me that she believes that God is made of different components (but not using that word.): man, woman, plant, animal and rock.  I asked her how or why she came up with this.  She told me she believes God is made up of the things God created.  I asked her especially about “rock.”  She told me that a rock is strong and needs strength for all of us.

Upon speaking to my student about the Zaroa (lambshank bone) on the seder plate, she though it could be sumbolic of Moses hand leading us out of Egypt.

This young lady doesn’t just think during out times together, she thinks all the time!

I love the questions that make me look the answers up (if there are any answers).  One of my students at Relgious Schhol asked me why we use our pinky fingers to spill out the wine for the 10 plagues during the Passover Seder.  I told him that I believe using the pinky finger became a minhag (custom) over the years.  I was not fully wrong.  According to a couple of people I inquired, it was really the pointer finger we are suppose to use since the pointer finger is symbolic of the “finger of God.”

I truly enjoy getting feedback from my students while learning. It keeps me on my toes, and I learn from them.

I would enjoy any comments about what I wrote regarding what my students told me. I want to hear from you!

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Ants In the Pants

Young children are a blast to teach.  I am having a great time at a school who asked me to come in and teach till the end of the year because their music teacher left.

I have a very different style of teaching than my predecessor. I use my guitar mostly and sometimes my Ipod which will give me even more freedom at times for hand motion; and at times I will do things acapella.  I like to teach the kids poems sometimes and they really enjoy it, and I am famous for singing books.

Last week, I did the Allard’s piece, “Ants In the Pants.”  I started out with saying that I had a problem.  Of course the kids asked me what kind of problem, and I answered that I had ants in my pants and I needed help. 99% of the class started giggling, but this little girl asked me very seriously if she could see my ants in my pants.  I told her that I could not show them to her, so I began the song.  She did participate.  The class had a great time with the song.  They loved the movements and of course I am playing guitar and doing the movements with them.  When I was done with the song, I told the kids that I know longer had the ants in my pants. The little girl asked me if I could show her how they left and if she could see them.  She was so serious and so concerned!  Not scared, just concerned.  Her teacher and I got such a kick out of it!

With students in general I find that quirkiness really captures them and I am that type of person so it is easy.  It makes classes more fun and at times unpredictable in a positive way.  Even when I am teaching other subjects, it is good to be a little unpredictable, quirky, and fun.  

So, lets go out there teaching with Ants In the Pants!

 

 

 

 

 

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