This morning I attended my son’s musical performance. The kindergarteners filed in wearing their chick/penguin hats (chick on one side, penguin on the other) stood before their xylophones, and proceeded to play 4 songs for us. There was singing, dancing, xylophoning. And then just singing and dancing. (The chick song included breaking from their eggs — “I feel icky and sticky and icky and sticky and icky and sticky. Let me out! Let me out!”) At one point Gavin lost his chick head. And then, once recovered, it was a one-eyed creature with a crooked beak.
Their teacher, a young, blonde, gorgeous woman who actually shimmied during the dance sequence informed us she’d been given her pink slip in our state’s budget crisis, but that she hoped the school would find a way for her to return. Kindergarteners aren’t actually required to take music. This is just a perk of being at a school with money. Because art, apparently, is a privilege. It isn’t something we make. Something we build. We don’t chase it because it reminds us that we’re alive. That life bellows out of us. Art is just intellectuals showing off. Just smarties using words in fancy ways and trying to confuse everybody else.
Fuck you. Fuck you with your ledgers and your number crunching and your desire to make learning a formula to be rattled off and promptly forgotten. Fuck you with your grey walls and your grey minds and your desks jammed together and your kids manufactured like car parts. Fuck you and your fear. Fuck you and your greed. Fuck you and your corporate monkeys.
Those children performed. They moved us. They were moved themselves. And they did it because they loved it. Because the songs made them happy and the xylophone is melodic and their audience applauded. They did it because it’s communal. Because we have spirits and they flutter inside us a little harder when we sing to them.
And all children deserve this. This art. This music. This play. Art is why we have senses. It’s how we gift ourselves to one another.