Although we have so many wonderful students to highlight, and I promise to highlight more of them soon, I feel the need to once again write about Khalif Winn. Everyday Khalif stays after the program with me to help put away all of the instruments, so I end up spending a lot of time talking with him. I think at this point I know all of his sister’s names, that he should wear glasses and doesn’t, and pretty much exactly how he feels about school. Sometimes we sing through the choir songs together and I spent some time teaching him rounds on xylophones that we play in the hallway outside our storage closet if I have a little extra time. He is a music teacher’s dream.
Yesterday he asked me to play a duet with him. He took out his trumpet and I took out a student’s clarinet and we played through “Angels We Have Heard on High” (which he is working on for the Christmas concert) together. I didn’t lead him, I didn’t tell him when, what, or how to play. He exuded an amazing amount of confidence and happiness. When we finished playing he looked at me and said: “Ms. Delia, that was really good. I’m really good at music! Have you heard me sing in choir too? I’m really good at that too!”.
Now, Khalif is a great kid! That’s a pre-existing condition, and Tune Up Philly certainly can’t take the credit for that. But what I do know is that playing the trumpet is giving him an amazing amount of self-confidence that I did not notice in him two months ago. He’s sitting in orchestra with poise and maturity awaiting his turn to play and participate. Music is certainly creating a very positive change in him (although we still have to work on running in the halls). I have rarely found myself so proud of a child bragging about themself. I can’t wait for him and his classmates to get a chance to play for an audience this weekend!