When famed guitarist Michael Kelsey performed at an Ohio middle school, he didn’t expect to find a musical prodigy sitting the audience, just waiting for his chance to perform
If Jordan Greene is at all like I was in middle school, he probably woke up the morning of this video dreading another day in the trenches. Make no bones about it—middle school can be brutal. Cliques, hormones, the ever-present uncertainty that you’re about to do something totally uncool. I don’t imagine Jordan knew he would be taking the stage to beatbox in front of the whole school, and he may not even have known that there would be a convocation with guitarist Michael Kelsey.
Yet when Kelsey needed someone to drop a beat (hopefully I’m using that phrase correctly, kids), Greene found himself with a microphone in hand, everyone watching. What happened next is a thing of beauty: as they say, he killed it. The music—and the moment—completely took him over.
He got so into it, he started dancing. Dancing. This is joy so pure it’s contagious, and I loved every second.
And it got me to thinking, too. Isn’t this what our kids have deserve from school—a taste of this joy? Isn’t this what we should nurture, encourage and empower in our youth? To my way of thinking, school should be a place where spontaneous dancing and music-making (and—gasp—irrepressible smiling!) aren’t solely the province special events but instead are common as dirt. And, as the current obsession with standardized testing and Common Core state standards dominates the conversation about teaching and learning, I hope the adults in the room can remember Jordan Greene’s joy, and all of our kids’ joy. That’s the promise of education, and that’s the point of life—to rise above all the other crazy bullshit and shine during our brief moment in the spotlight. I mean, seriously: Has a pop quiz or a multiple-choice test ever made you stand up and cheer?