I don’t write here much about my son: mostly because he doesn’t like it. But if you know me at all, you know my son has made me who I am. My first experience in advocacy was for him. He doesn’t know or understand that evolution though. I’m attempting to raise him to advocate for himself–which is what I have also learned to do, from him; advocate for myself (and the many like me). But back to Hunter…..
My son has always loved music: he had his first keyboard at 2, his first guitar at 8, his first drum set at 11 and now, his first bass at 13. My son wanted to be in band more than anything. So, we went to tryouts and he wanted to try drums first . The teacher asked if he’d ever had piano. We said “no.” The teacher rolled his eyes at him and Hunter picked up on that. Hunter picks up everything. So, we went to the horns. I’d played sax, so he tried that, but his fingers weren’t long enough to hit all the keys. But they let him try trumpet; three buttons, perfect for short fingers, so we got him a trumpet.
Hunter has Aspergers. So my first IEP meeting the band teacher didn’t know, but his special Ed case worker told me, “Mrs. Morrison says he spends more time taking his trumpet apart than playing with the band. She says if he has a real interest in music, he’ll never make it and she thinks he should just quit.” I freaked out! “He loves music! And him taking his trumpet apart means your music class is boring!” Well, he stayed in band. Even when they couldn’t fit it with his schedule, his study halls meant private trumpet lessons with Mrs. Morrison. And he could still play with the band–much to her horror. Band was now his middle school volunteer job and she still wanted him out. He got no credit or grade for band. Mrs. Morrison emailed me telling me Hunter wasn’t serious enough about music and again, suggested he quit. I said, “don’t fire him from his volunteer job! He’s there because he loves it! He’s not even graded for band!” But she still thought he should quit.
Again, I bitched a blue streak. I took my son to music lessons outside of public school. He plays drums, guitar, and bass. And still loves his trumpet. So, I think teachers really need to shut the hell up and let the kids be as they will be. Isn’t it a damn shame that government is against that?