All by myself at home, listening to Beethoven, My mind drifted back to second grade. When I was about eight.
The kids were all over the class, some standing on the desks and jumping on the chairs, others scribbling on the blackboard with some leftover colored chalk. And a couple of kids standing by the door to alarm the rest when the teacher is approaching.
Once the calls are heard from the door, all the kids scatter around the class back to their seats as if chaos never existed. The blackboard scribbles are erased, chairs set back in place, and the desks are aligned into straight rows.
Her short spiky blonde hair appears at the door.
“Good morning Miss Maglena”. The whole class sang together.
“Get out your music notebooks, we’re writing a new piece.”
Everyone gets out their notebooks and pencils. And if someone forgot to get them they were in deep trouble.
Everyone spoke about her in the breaks and on the bus. She was very popular not only because she was the only music teacher in our three hundred students school and taught grades 1-6, but also she was known to be very strict, and when things get out of control she might even start swearing. She was the teacher that everyone hated.
When she was absent for some reason and another teacher came into class, the students had a celebration. For once, there won’t be a nightmare.
Those times she took us to the music room which was at the end of a hallway behind the villa-turned-into-school, things were a bit better.
After everyone is in, she’d put all the musical instruments in the very corner of the L-shaped room and get out an orange-red carpet and spread it on the floor. She’d ask us to take off our shoes and then she’d turn off the lights and put on some Beethoven or Mozart.
We’d lie on the carpet..
“Relax and listen”, she’d say.
She stops the music, and plays it from the start. The fierce knocking of the start.
“Who’s it for?” She’d ask us.
“The knocking” , she knocks on the table with the music, “is for Mozart”.
And she’d say the symphony number.
That’s the only time when I learned real music.
I learned to played the first part of the UAE national assembly.
Honestly, I never thought I’d ever write about her. For us, at the time she was an annoying figure that must be erased from our tiny memories. But after I grew up into a young adult, it turned out that even though she was scary and hated then, she had definitely left her fingerprint.
At that age, she taught us the basic notes, to write and read them, and most importantly to feel them.
She made us understand the keyboard and play instruments.
We had an introduction to most of them. Even those instruments we didn’t have in school, she’d bring photographs and talk about them in class.
She introduced us to Music.
Unfortunately, the year after, the school principle asked her to form a coral of the students to perform at the end of year function. And with that, our music lessons turned into singing classes rather than introducing us to the world and passion of music.