Thursday, August 28, 2014

Private Teachers Say the Darnedest Things About Insruments Other Than Their Own

Arriving at a school where I had already reserved my practice room for the year, I found another teacher in there. I alerted her to the fact that I was here, but the room next door was open...

OTHER TEACHER: I tried to teach next door, but the room was full of suitcases.
ME (after looking in that room): Suitcases? Those are bari saxes! (smiling) How dare you disrespect my instrument like that!

(Suitcases??!!)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Kids Say the Darnedest Things When They're Just Starting Band

During this first week of school, there are a lot of kids who are still solidifying their schedules, and one of them walked into the band office at a middle school this morning...

KID: I've decided to be in band after all.
DIRECTOR: You did? Good deal. What do you want to play?
KID: I forgot what it was called.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Kids Say the Darnedest Things When Quoting Their Band Directors

One of my new students told me about a meeting held at his school for incoming beginners. Evidently, his director described the first concert in December this way: "The parents will all be saying, 'Aww, they're squeaking...but it's so cute!'"

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!