“Is he usually this shy in class?”

28 Feb

Last week, a grandma brought her grandson to class (giving his mom a much-needed break), and she had a great time. After class, she asked this question about her grandson: “Is he usually this shy in class?” Interestingly, I didn’t experience the not-yet-two-year-old boy as “shy” at all — he left his grandma’s lap many times to roam about the room, get instruments out of the box and put them back, and explore my guitar; he bounced, rocked, and swayed to the music; he sang notes here and there; and he watched me intently throughout the class. I suspect it’s this last behavior that the grandma interpreted as “shy.” When he’s at home, she said, her grandson is loud and energetic and has a generally big presence. Seeing him with a different kind of energy in class was — well — different. It makes sense to me: We do all kinds of things in class that don’t usually happen in a concentrated 45-minute span at home, and many children respond to class activities by absorbing, taking it all in, and storing up the musical information to experiment with later. That’s not the same as being shy, though — which is great to know! I told the grandma about another mom who described her child as being “on record” in class and “on play” at home. “Oh,” said the grandma, “That makes so much sense!” Now, she can notice her grandson’s “record” time as the way he’s processing input, without labeling him as anything more than “taking it all in.” I’m sure that once she got him home, her grandson pressed his “play” button…and turned the volume up to 11.

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