Today, we were set to build on our success from the day before. We started, as always, with breakfast at the Hotel Libano. Part of the morning routine was for Mark Dollhopf to give a quick talk and then to get reports from various projects. Mark called on Tyler and me to speak to the group about our piano project. I think Tyler was a little surprised to be asked to speak.
After we gave a few minute description of our day, it was on to announcements from Connie, the group leader. A word about Connie and the Yale Alumni Service Corp folks who put this together: Connie and her team are volunteer team leaders. I have no idea how many hours they put in planning, but it was certainly a lot. They had 90 people to coordinate, house and feed, supplies to requisition, and projects to oversee. My guess, knowing that this was a crowd of Yalies, is that they received lots of advice, only some of it solicited, along the way. They lead us with organization, good cheer and a resolve to get the job done. They all deserve our thanks.
With the morning over, we were back to Las Charcas to teach some music. The morning went as it had the day before . . . except with many, many more children. We even had one of the teachers come in for lessons. (By the end of the week, a few of the teachers came by to learn a song on the piano, which amused the kids.)
|Daryl in action|
We numbered their fingers (the thumb was 1, the index finger was 2 and so on) and gave them handwritten strips of paper with sequences of numbers to signify which notes to play. (Hot Cross Buns was 432, 432, 22, 33, 432 with the right hand when played on a collection of three black keys.) This worked well and became the basis for the progress we made over the next few days. Some kids really took to it. Others struggled at first. But, it allowed us to introduce the idea of musical notes because the piano books that we had -- they finally got out of customs -- used the same basic system.
|Teddy and Tyler working together|
One of the highlights of the day is that the big piano and our books finally made it out of customs. (Ironically, we did not have to pay a dime in additional customs. All that was required was a personal explanation that the piano was used and would not be resold in the DR.) Late in the afternoon, Jose showed up with our box. We unpacked the box and made sure the piano was working (it was) and got the Spanish language piano books out. We learned later that evening that some of the words we had been using to describe musical concepts weren't quite right . . . we would have to fix that in the morning.
|The piano teachers in their classroom|