Monday, September 11, 2017

We Still Remember

My remembrances of this day in 2001, first published two years after the fact (in the first year of this blog), and only edited slightly since then: Here's my story: I was on a break from teaching, like every Tuesday, and actually spent the time of the attacks in blissful ignorance at a nearby Starbucks. I had CD's on in my car instead of the radio, so I totally missed the news on both the way over and the way back. I did hear someone listening to a radio on the Starbucks patio and they were talking about "the second plane," but it didn't register with me at all. (It amazed me later that nobody walked inside and told us about it.) When I got back to the school, the flute teacher stopped me in the hallway and asked me if all my students were being pulled out of school (evidently hers were). I said, "No, why?" and she told me what had happened. I spent the rest of the day like everyone else, in shocked, depressed amazement, catching the news when I could. There I was, not even two weeks into being a homeowner, and the world suddenly felt so different. It added to the pall cast over everything when I found out that the sister of a girl I graduated from high school with was on Flight 93, the one that crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. (I know that there have been quite a few lists of names read aloud today, so let me share hers: Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas. May she rest in peace...) The whole thing felt so surreal; how could anyone hate us that much? The concept of the suicide hijacking was unprecedented as well (before that, hijackers just usually wanted to go to Cuba, and that's why airline personnel were taught to cooperate with them rather than try to subdue them). I know there are still terrorist plots being hatched, and people capable of carrying them out...but I hope nothing like this ever happens on U.S. soil again. Or anywhere, for that matter. As I said a year ago, I hope nobody tires of talking about this every once in a while, because if we stop talking, we might forget, and this is a day that need not be forgotten anytime soon.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Their Abilities

On the last day of sectionals earlier this week, I had everyone play at least four bars of one of the All-Region etudes for the group. Part of it went like this: KID #1: I will play the first four bars of Etude 2. (does so) KID #2: I'm gonna play the exact same thing he did, but worse. (does so)

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Musical Interpretation

During my recent sectionals, I was talking about the "artistic" way to do a trill on a long note--starting gradually rather than going full speed, since doing the latter in a slow piece often sounds overly aggressive, or even angry... ME: And there's nothing even remotely angry about this piece. If anything, it's a love song. KID #1: Eww! Why does it have to be a love song? I hate love songs! ME (somewhat surprised): Well, it doesn't have to be a love song. If you want, just think of it as a beautiful walk in the park. KID #2: I hate the park!

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Kids Say the Darnedest Things at the End of Sectionals

At the end of a week and a half of sectionals for a couple of high schools, I always do the quick plug for lessons at the end... ME: So before we finish up, here's the quick "commercial." KID: So this means that the free trial period has ended, and now we have to pay?

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Kids Also Wear the Darnedest Things

Many ensembles dress alike for State; here comes one now... First kid: All black Second kid: All black Third kid: All black Fourth kid: All black, except for powder-blue shoes and white socks (and pants that are high-water enough to make the latter really obvious)

Kids Say the Darnedest Things at State Solo & Ensemble

Overheard earlier today: KID 1: Yeah, I probably got a 3 if the judge has mercy, or a 4 otherwise. KID 2: Oh, it wasn't really that bad. KID 1: I totally messed up! KID 2: Nah, you just forgot an entire repeated section, but other than that...

Thursday, May 18, 2017

An Apt Quote for Today

One of the better quotes I saw today among all the Chris Cornell tributes: "If I write a song and put it out there, it's not mine anymore," [Cornell] told CNN. "It takes on a life of its own, and when you listen to it, it becomes your song. And over the course of generations, those meanings will change." RIP, Chris. (And yes, Soundgarden was one of the bands I got to see live that some people might not have expected, even if they didn't make the "ten bands I've seen, one is a lie" thing a few weeks ago.)

Monday, May 01, 2017

Kids (and Their Teacher) Have the Darnedest Fixes for Rehearsal Problems

So the power goes out in the practice wing during quartet rehearsal? No problem; five cell phone flashlights illuminate the room just fine.‬