Blog

A True Story

Playing music can be a transformative experience, as I witnessed when teaching steel drums at a summer day camp. The very first morning I sized up my group -- 5 awkward boys, all of whom chose to stay inside rather than go hiking, fishing or swimming.  I took them into the music room, wondering how this was going to go. We began with rhythm games, then I taught them how to play Row Row Row Your Boat on the steel drums. They started to loosen up. We moved on to a song by Cold Play. They were having fun now -- dancing and singing while they played. On the second day the boys were still awkward, but playing the steel drums relaxed them. They helped one another, were eager to try new things, and responded to instruction. By the third day the boys sounded good. I told them they needed a name for their band. They brainstormed a bit, and then one boy said Men of Steel. There was silence, then they all yelled "that's it, that's us: Men of Steel." It was a great moment! They had totally bonded, and they were confident and proud of their accomplishment.  The final day of camp I announced Men of Steel and they played their hearts out.