Mr Young was a music teacher at our school. He taught my class for 3 years I think. His teaching methods were very peculiar, and because of them, when we got a ‘real’ music teacher, he had to start from scratch.
Mr Young’s lessons would always start with a vocal warm up. He would play piano, and hand out tatty lyric sheets to the same song every single time – don’t stop believin’. By the time we had finished the first term, everybody knew it word for word, but he insisted on handing the sheets out. After we sang that incredibly overplayed song, we did an actual warm up song, which literally went like this: 1, 121, 12321, 1234321, 123454321…. up to about 10. We sang it so much that we probably could sing it in our sleep.
After the register and our little warm up, he would send us off in little groups of about 4 to a practise room each. We had instructions to compose our own piece of music, but really, that never happened. Unless you were in Bekah’s group. He would patrol the hall and look in through the windows to check on you, but most people could have gotten away with murder in those lessons. We’d play on our phones, run about into other groups and attack them with musical instruments.
The one time he actually ever assessed my musical abilities was when I was in a group with Hattie and someone else (and now I feel really bad because I don’t actually know who it was) and we performed Goodbye Mr A by the Hoosiers. And I mean PERFORM. We had a dance routine, we all sang different parts of the song – and Mr Young filmed it. We never saw the video, and thank god because we probably looked and sounded like complete dicks. I think we all got 6 merit points for it though.
In the end, I don’t actually know what happened to Mr Young. There were rumours about him having relations with one of the sixth form boys, and there were rumours that he went to prison – I literally don’t have a clue.
After he was gone, Mr Thornburn arrived. He was a big man, and I remember our class calling him Mr ThornBurger because of that. Savage kids we were. He decided that none of us had any musical knowledge whatsoever and taught us like we were back in year 3. He would clap a rhythm and we would clap it back. This went on for weeks before he finally decided we could use instruments, but we did the exact same thing. The school decided he was shit, and so he left.
Now, we have two really good music teachers, Miss McGlinchey (who’s name I cannot spell, and who is 11A’s tutor) and Mr Thompson (who competes in Pole Vault and is deputy head or something similar). Both of them are amazing, and we see them often as our form room is in the music corridor.
Unfortunately for me (and probably everyone in my form) whenever I hear ‘Don’t stop believin” I always think of those dreadful lessons. One time I kicked my shoes through the ceiling.