I had a moment earlier told the student that he would be able to play more drums at 11.00 at the earliest. He had a different opinion and made it clear to me what he regarded was his right.
It was summer and I worked on a glorious summer day. During the summer holidays we do other things with the students, since they are fewer and we have access to the entire school without having to ask someone else if it is occupied. It is one of the great advantages of working in the summer.
This student was a bit younger and would have to wait until the next term to make acquaintence with the music room and all their instruments. An an old drummers, I think it’s fun to play a little, so I brought some students to play the instruments.
It went very well, the drums were very popular. And very loud, which in too long sessions can cause hearing damage.
I’ve played a lot in my days, and far too many without proper ear protection. Which meant that I have hearing loss, known as tinnitus. Most loss on the left ear, which is where most noise is coming from, ie the hi-hat.
That means I have great respect for loud sounds and think a lot about how I can protect my hearing, that is what is left.
This experience is difficult to explain, especially too younger kids who just think it’s fun to play.
My student had been playing for 30 minutes and that is what the ear can withstand without being damaged. Then you have to have your ear rest a while, at least double the time it has been subjected to loud noises. To be even more certain that the ear had their rest I added more time. All this I told my student.
When we left the music room, another student entered who also wanted to play the drums. My students left the music room very reluctantly. We got back to the rooms we used during daytime and I suggested we play a game. It went well. The game went fairly quickly and was over after fiteen minutes. Thats when this student decided to go to the music room to play drums.
I said no.
It first looked like the student accepted my no. Still, I kept an eye on the student. And when he thought I was not looking he slipped away. I waited first to see if he came back. When he stayed away, I went after.
He had been hiding on their way to the music room and I passed him, when he saw that I walked past he laughed out loud.
I heard him and stopped, and went back.
Then and there he informed me that he would go to the music room to play drums.
I told him that he could play at 11:00 a clock.
He insisted on going now, referring to the student who sat there and played, he had been playing for ages!
I told him that we where not having a discussion here, I was telling him what time he could play and that it was to protect his ears. He did not care and of course (and who does it when you’re six years old and want to play drums).
Now we came to a critical point, where I clarified the following. The time you get to play is at 11.00 and then you will get to play for half an hour.
However, if you go now, I will pick you up, then I lock the door and there will be no more play for you this week (important to set a time limit which the child can understand, hence the rest of the week).
He thought for a moment, then asked how much time is left. I asked to see his watch which he gladly picked up. It was on 06.00!
I laughed out loud and realized that it is difficult to learn the clock if it is wrong, I picked up my own instead and was able to determine that it was only forty-five minutes left.
We went back to play another game. When the time came to go and play some more drums, I noted that we walked past a room where you do a woodcraft … they have hearing protective gear there …
What a joy to sit and listen with the ears protected and just enjoy the creativity of a beginner drummer.
Have a great summer and protect your ears.