When I was in graduate school, one of my professors and mentors - Dr. Fleda Mask Jackson- taught me the concept of re-tool. Re-tooling is a process or activity by which we renew ourselves- our mind, body and soul. Fleda says one of her re-tooling activities is gardening. For some, it may be exercising, getting a massage or spending time with good friends over a delicious meal. Sometimes I like to go on long walks without music and just allow my mind to rest and my senses to be stimulated by the natural environment.
Last night I re-tooled in another way. I went to the 6th annual Baltimore Jazz Education Project held at The Center for The Arts at Towson University in Towson, MD. My brother has served as the Musical Director for this project as well as one of the primary organizers since it began. As taken from Greg Thompkins' (my brother) facebook page:
The purpose of the fund is to provide jazz education to underserved youth through the funding of individual musical instruction in selected Baltimore City Public Schools. The jazz education program at Patterson Park Public Charter School in Baltimore is supported by this fund.
As part of the fundraiser, Greg featured some of his young saxophone students. This year, there were two little girls playing their saxophone. They looked to be between 10-12 years of age. He also featured a 9th grade student that has been with him for 4 years, Chase. Chase is featured in the video clip above. I took this clip using my phone so that will completely explain the video quality. When you see these kids it will definitely make your heart happy.
Here is a picture of Chase with an attendee. She was giving him all of this advice of what he should do on stage to feel the music. At the end of all of that I told Chase that he might want to check with his teacher (Greg) before doing any of that stuff.
|Lady telling Chase how he should feel the music onstage|
I spent time with my family. I brought my parents along and they had a really good time. It was nice to see my brother Greg in his element and seeing how much he is admired and appreciated. All of this love and admiration was extended to us as well being his family. It's always good to see family members through different lenses. He is an amazing instructor. It's obvious that he is teaching his 60+ students much more than learning how to play the saxophone. It caused me to reflect upon the village of teachers, friends and relatives that helped to raise me. It gave me hope for the next generation.
|Chase's dad, me and mom|
|me, mom, dad, Greg|
Greg with Chase
May you find your own way to re-tool. Wishing you peace, blessings and all good things!