Thank God it's Friday

10th February 2006 at 00:00
Monday Kathryn opens her violin case and discovers someone else's violin and music inside. I think back to the three school violins I issued last week, all identical on the outside. We find her instrument in the storeroom and I suggest that she personalise her case with an eye-catching name tag.

I make a mental note to do the same as the last thing I want is some Year 7 walking off with my new viola. It's a bit like identifying your suitcase at an airport: a distinctive coloured ribbon helps. I talk to Charlotte about punctuality as she wanders in late again.

Tuesday My day off school. Musicians work hard at the weekends so a day off in lieu is a necessity. But today I'm working. I have a rehearsal and concert which, oh joy, is not taking place in a school. As I walk into the hall I reflect on how nice it is to spend a day with grown-ups - until I run into the brass players in the canteen.

Wednesday Travelling between schools is a hazard of the job and it doesn't always work. Today I arrive a couple of minutes late for my second school.

Some of my pupils are playing solos in a concert tomorrow. I give them a talk about coping with nerves in the performance and thinking positively.

As if I know all the answers!

Thursday A 9 o'clock start. I have always been a night owl, which is lucky as musicians are quite often still playing at 10.30 and driving at midnight. However, schools work "normal" hours and seem to like us to start at the same time as everyone else. I wonder how Tania can be so cheerful so early. Emma gives me the usual "dog-ate-the-violin-music" story for the third time this term. No time for recriminations: it's the concert today and I have to improvise her piano part. Jess looks terrified when it comes to her solo. I feel for her.

Friday I have a difficult orchestral solo to play in a rehearsal. I try to remember my own advice about how to cope with nerves. My bow seems to have a life of its own. Thank God it's Friday? Only 150 miles and two concerts to do at the weekend.

Deborah Kemp is a visiting teacher of violin and viola in several London schools. If you have a diary to share (no more than 450 words), write to TES Friday, Admiral House, 66-68 East Smithfield, London E1W 1BX or email friday@ We pay for every article we publish

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