Thursday, September 11, 2014

Never Forget

Thirteen years ago today:
I was on a break from teaching, like every Tuesday, and actually spent the time of the attacks in blissful ignorance at the Rockwall 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 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. (Since it's common on this day to have roll calls of the people who were lost, I'll state her name here, with a link to her foundation: Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas.)

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 repost this in 2014, we know that the evil in our world is far from being eradicated. But I say once more, may we never forget, and may something of this nature never happen here again.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Kids Say the Darnedest Things When Baseball Games Run Long

As you may have seen from the picture I posted last night, the Rangers game that I attended went fourteen innings. The Rangers threatened several times in some of the earlier extra innings, but they always missed by just a little. As the game went longer and longer, those of us who stayed till the end were lamenting the lateness of the hour.

Among those who stayed were a group of energetic high-schoolers a few rows in front of us; I overheard a few of them say that they were band kids who had an early rehearsal the next morning. Someone in the group suggested that they should go, because they might grow old before this game would finish.

But in response to that, another kid came up with the quote of the night: "No--baseball games are like Neverland! You never grow old when watching baseball!"

The 14th Inning Stretch?

This was actually a thing at tonight's Rangers game...but it must have been what the doctor ordered, because it ended in victory: Rangers 3, Rays 2.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Minor Keys

The new middle school All-District music is out, and one of the etudes is in a minor key. While I didn't go into the same detail about minor keys that I did with the high-schoolers last week, I did play this eighth-grader the minor triad and the major triad on the piano for sake of comparison...

ME: So without getting too complicated, you can hear how the minor key sounds sadder, right?
KID: Yeah--it sounds like the soundtrack for "the Christmas that never came."

Friday, August 08, 2014

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About New Scales

During one of the high school sectionals I was running this week, I was pointing out that the third All-State ├ętude is in a minor key. While most people learn at least a little about minor keys and scales before high school, I was curious as to how much they actually knew...

ME: How is this different from a major key?
KID: It's minor.

(Again...thank you, Captain Obvious. And this was a different kid than the one who said something similarly obvious the other day. At least this kid somewhat redeemed himself right afterwards by saying "it sounds sad.")

Monday, August 04, 2014

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Their Schools

I'm conducting sax sectionals for one of my high schools this week, and the room I'm using is on the second floor on the other end of the building, farthest from the band hall. The route that several students and I chose to go back was probably brand-new to me...

ME: This is interesting; I don't think I've ever been in this part of the school before.
KID: This is the upstairs.
ME (laughing, along with the other kids): Thank you, Captain Obvious.

Friday, August 01, 2014

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Their Technical Exercises

As I've mentioned before, I use a set of technique exercises that I've dubbed the "vegetables," because--in the same way that a stalk of broccoli is less fun to eat (for most people) than a piece of chocolate cake, but the broccoli is much better for you--these exercises are probably not the most interesting pieces of music that you'll ever play, but they're also really good for you...

KID: I just don't like vegetables very much. I need something with some fat on it.
ME: So which fat would you put on these vegetables to make them tastier?
KID: Chicken!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Kids Wear the Darnedest Things

Funny T-shirt on a kid at lunch: "Video games ruined my life. Good thing I have 2 left."