It’s a usual music therapy practice to greet each person in the group individually at the start of the session, and to say goodbye to each individual. It is a way to invite each individual into the group setting, and at the end, to thank them for their contribution to the group.
Well yesterday, I forgot to say bye to each individual kid after a session.
After the group goodbye song, the boys were transited to go toileting, then to go for their outdoor activity.
But one of the little boys decided otherwise – he apparently pulled his teacher back to the classroom, where I was still packing and clearing the area after their session.
I had turned around and there he stood, looking at me, somewhat bashfully.
Unaware of his agenda, I asked “A, what is it?” Not that he could verbalise a reply, but I knew he was capable of communicating through gestures and vocalisations.
When a few more moments had passed without him initiating anything, I looked at the teacher standing at the entrance of the classroom.
“Do you know what he wants?” I asked.
“He wants to say bye.”
It hit me then. Of course. I had forgotten to give each kid their individual goodbye after the session, perhaps unconsciously assuming that the goodbye song was good enough and that it wouldn’t make a difference to them anyway… Apparently it does!
Squatting to his eye level, I said “Bye bye A!” and held out my palm for a high-5. He returned the high-5 immediately, smiled and turned to walk back to his teacher.
The little things do matter. A lot.