Monday, July 09, 2012

Another post on schools in Argentina

Students at St. Gregory School in BA. This was a school where I was in a music room, not a cavernous hall. It's so nice to have that intimate feel and not to need a microphone.
I had good intentions to blog regularly during the tour in Buenos Aires. However, with 63 performances in four weeks and a cursed headcold for half the time, I didn't have the energy. I'll try to catch up now.

There really was no such thing as a typical day. I might perform only in the morning or only in the afternoon. I might have three shows at one school and nothing more for the day. I might do one show at a school far to the south and then travel for an hour to another school for three performances. Some days I didn't have to meet the taxi until late, say 8 a.m. or even noon, though usually it was 7 a.m.

The schools were different one from another. The level of English varied from almost native to very poor. Some schools had auditoriums, some used echoey common areas, some put me in classrooms or music rooms. If it was normally the time when they were studying in Spanish, the teachers might not understand English.
These children had a good level of English. Even at schools where the level was lower, the kids understood this stretch.
The students wear their uniforms, sometimes with their warm school jackets.
I'm wearing my fleece vest and scarf in this school, as I did quite often. Schools in many countries are not kept as warm as in the US. It was winter in Argentina.
This high school boy really was paying attention. He turned so that Yoli could take a picture that included the girls in the row ahead of him listening while leaning on each other's shoulders.

I performed at private schools, not at state schools. Most were wonderful. I only had one school where the teachers were talking among themselves, and fortunately, the children ignored them. I only had one school where the kids were poorly behaved and I had no help from the teachers. That may have been partly because of the low level of English, partly because it was a difficult space, partly because I was feeling bad because of my cold.

Generally, the students in Argentina were well behaved and we all had fun. I left a few minutes for questions at the end of the show usually and the students were brave about asking. Some of them have since become my Facebook friends or have liked Trixie's Facebook page or have sent me e-mails. Some have subscribed to my Youtube channel.

On my last day, I was at St. Luke's. It was a fabulous end to the tour. Everybody at the school was welcoming. I was in the brand-new library, a pleasant intimate space. The librarian, Sol, reads to the students every week. They were anticipating my visit. The level of English was excellent, even among the youngest listeners.

This was the day DreamOn was filming the performance. We had only one problem: between the first and second of three sets, the power went out on the whole block. Fortunately, the kids were such good listeners I didn't need the microphone and the videographer was able to reposition me to take advantage of the natural light from the windows.

I left that school feeling good about the performances there and about the whole tour. Whew!


Faith said...

It sounds like this was one of your best tours yet, in spite of being sick!

Priscilla Howe said...

Yup! Hey, check out the post I just wrote. You'll understand why.