Recently Wendy and I submitted a video we made to NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest. They started the contest last year and, at that time, we submitted a video around Wendy’s song “Flowers”. This year, we decided to make a video for another song of Wendy’s called “Blue Skies” and it was a fantastic experience for a number of reasons. One was the fact that the videographer is a student of mine, Robert Moon, a senior at Weston High School. He’s a young man that I’ve always respected from afar, but gotten to know a little better in my classroom. It’s not been a great year for Robert as he has struggled with some issues outside the classroom, but one day he shared with my class some videos he had been making in his spare time and immediately I saw a chance to connect with him on this Tiny Desk Contest. After class I approached him about it and, after showing some surprise that I was in a band and so invested in it, he immediately agreed.
The student/teacher relationship is vital to effective teaching. Show a student some understanding and appreciation of what their life is like outside the confines of the classroom and they will do most anything in meeting you halfway. It’s that simple, but too many people in this profession are reluctant, even timid to reach out to students beyond what they are expected to do in the classroom and those teachers, in my view, are missing the best part. What Robert created, through his work with Wendy’s well-written song and our rendition of it, is really cool. It just is, and it captures the essence of the tune beautifully in addition to how much fun Wendy and I are having playing it. We must have played it thirty times that night in different places in the school and I never tired of it.
I hope it wins, no lie, but chances are slim. It’s a huge contest—hundreds and hundreds of entries. Winning is not the point though, because in taking on this project, both Wendy and I got to know a student much better and his potential is limitless. Robert’s production of the video shows that clearly. It also shows, at least to me, that there are no limitations in this venture Wendy and I have taken on. Who knows where it will lead us. The only limits, as we all know, are those we impose upon ourselves, and I’ve come to the point in my life where I just don’t see any anymore.
And it’s nice.
Enjoy it and tell us what you think.