A Day in the Life of Matthew Ketteman – Music Instructor for Longview Farm Elementary
September 5th, 2019
6:36 a.m. No need to buy an alarm clock in the Ketteman household, we have one living here. Her name is Claire and she somehow has the uncanny ability to sneak into our room for morning cuddles and hugs. It is a great way to wake up, but not the easiest to get your day started.
7:24 a.m. I need to make 5 speakers, 2 subwoofers, 3 microphone stands, 3 totes of gear and a guitar fit into the back of my minivan. It takes a little bit, but my Tetris skills from the mid-80s finally pay off and I’m ready to head to school.
8:15 a.m. A short drive and a protein bar later, I arrive in my classroom. Today is Thursday so I have to start off by putting a new LP on the record player. My wife and I recently got into collecting vinyl and I have been using exciting finds to create a listening line as students leave my classroom. This week a teacher in my building has donated an album for us to use. Thanks Mr. Franz! I really love the conversations about music that these rotations spark between the students and staff at LFE. I then take a few moments to send out a tweet to share the exciting new sound in the music room.
8:45 a.m. Every morning art teacher Mrs. Yotter and I open the door for all of our students walking to school. I usually save guitar-serenaded entrances for Friday but I’m really excited today and just have to bring the guitar out. Some students ask me if it’s Friday. I’m always amazed at how they can pick up on even the slightest change in their routines.
9:08 a.m. One of my 6th grade students shares that it is his birthday. We have an optional tradition for birthdays in my room and with some convincing from peers, he agrees. After picking a silly hat and mounting the birthday saddle, he selects the ukulele as his accompaniment instrument of choice and the fun begins. The whole class stands up and proceeds to sing and dance to celebrate his day. I’m always excited when my older students pause from their on-going pursuit of adulthood and embrace being a kid for a few moments.
10:41 a.m. This is secretly one of my favorite parts of the day. The first lunch is beginning soon and kindergarten walks by on their way to the cafeteria. Full celebrity status is achieved for a few brief moments as the pint sized paparazzi parade down the hall. It doesn’t matter if it’s the first day of school or the 100th, they eagerly stroll by for the “chance” to see me and wave enthusiastically as they go by. Their unbridled enthusiasm is just what I need to pump me up for the rest of my day.
11:09 a.m. Our band teacher, Mrs. Thurmond, stops by to check and see if I need anything for tonight. She is on the board for an event called Wings4Water and my band, “The Local,” is providing entertainment this afternoon. She notices fifth gradres working on identifying time signatures and using their knowledge to draw bar lines in correct places. Excitement and pride for her new students rushes across her face and she brags on them. She even brags on me. We all love when Mrs. Thurmond stops by.
11:50 a.m. I head to the office and turn in money collected from students who are signing up for choir. Ms. Jeri keeps me organized and accountable.
12:15 p.m. To get everything ready for the event this afternoon, I use a personal day for the rest of my teaching day. My sub for the afternoon arrives. I go over the lesson plans and explanation of activities with Mrs. Bachtel. She has been in our building a number of times, both as a teacher and a parent. I know that my student will be in great hands.
12:37 p.m. Taco Bell in hand, I head to Bridge Space in downtown Lee’s Summit. I have a working lunch unloading all of the equipment from the back of my minivan onto the performance space for the Wings4Water event. It is now fully hot. The sun and I are enemies as I wrestle with all the equipment and get items set-up.
3:29 p.m. Most of the other band members arrive and begin setting up their personal equipment. We formed a few years ago and adopted the name “The Local” because our main purpose is to provide entertainment for local charities in need. Nobody is taking home money today. Just helping out a good cause. Drums, speakers, keyboards, amps and cables are all carefully placed. Did I mention it was hot?
4:18 p.m. Sound check. We adjust monitors and levels on all the equipment. I find a bandanna to put on and stop the sweat from running into my eyes. Everything goes well until the iPad controlling our soundboard overheats. Thanks, Sun.
5:30 p.m. Start time. We start to run through our set Excitement is in the air. Another thing floating in the air is all the delicious smells! The sun has decided to step behind a tree for a while. All is good.
6:13 p.m. I get a wave and thumbs up from LSW band director Clif Thurmond who is standing about Market street on a huge podium. His 180 member marching Titans are lined up and ready to take over. I finish the last chord of “Sweet Caroline” while the students sing loudly from the street. I introduce the band and they take over.
No further explanation necessary.