Thursday, September 29, 2011

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Weird Accidentals

The middle school all-district music has an F double sharp in it this year, and I was teaching the concept to a seventh grader...

ME: Do you know what this symbol means? Have you ever seen one before?
KID: It looks like pants!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Jazz vs. Classical

This from a kid who loves jazz and loves going to classical all-region, but doesn't love going to jazz all-region: "Classical and structure go together like peanut butter and bread. Jazz and structure go together like peanut butter and mustard."

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Theater Kids Say the Darnedest Things

The hallway between our music rehearsal hall and the theater lab at the college was being used as both a backstage area and possibly a dressing room tonight (there were various items of clothing on the floor as I passed through).

ME: Sorry, I have to pass through here to get to my rehearsal, so I hope nobody's gettin' nekkid in here...
ACTOR: We're in theater; that's what we do.

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Foreign Words

ME: This piece is marked "moderato." Do you know what that word means?
KID: Moderate?
ME: Right. And what does "moderate" mean?
KID: (shrugs)
ME: If a place has a moderate climate, what is the weather like?
KID: Humid?
ME: Not quite.
KID: Dusty?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Trivia

MY STUDENT (on way out of lesson): Look out, we're about to get blocked in by tympanis!
ME: It's not "tympanis." "Tympani" itself is plural; the singular is "tympanum."
TYMPANIST: Wow, I feel like such a bad tympani player for not knowing that.

(I also found through some quick research that another singular form is "tympano." And I informed the tympanist that both "broccoli" and "graffiti" are also plurals, but you knew this if you've been reading this blog for a while.)

The best word that could be used to describe today: ARRRRRRR.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Their Injuries

Today, I taught one who was out for a while with a broken arm, contusions, etc.:
ME: So are you pretty much all healed now?
KID: I still have a stitch in my side.
ME: Gotcha.
KID: I have a picture of it on my phone.
ME: I see...
KID: Wanna see it?
ME: Nah, I'm good.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Their Siblings

Again, from a sixth grader: "I lost my phone last week, and then I found it in my baby sister's crib. She was probably texting all her friends from day care."

Sunday, September 11, 2011

If Ever a Commercial Was Deserving of An Encore...'s this one:

It aired during the Cowboys-Jets game tonight--only the second time it's ever been shown on TV, with the first being during the 2002 Super Bowl.

I have to admit, this got to me even more than the tribute I played for during church services this morning. Kudos to whomever came up with the original idea, and to whomever decided to rerun it tonight.

Playing This Week in the Kevmobile

As always, here's the recap of car-tunes from the past seven days:
  • MONDAY: Playing today in the Kevmobile: Gary Burton/Chick Corea/Pat Metheny/Dave Holland/Roy Haynes, "Like Minds." The rare "supergroup" that sounds like a coherent band (likely because they've all played together on numerous occasions in smaller groups).

  • TUESDAY: Dafnis Prieto Sextet, "Taking the Soul For a Walk." Cuban-born drummer leads group through energetic set.

  • WEDNESDAY: Naruyoshi Kikuchi Dub Sextet, "Dub Orbits." Japanese tenorist leads a traditional group that's augmented by cool electronic effects.

  • THURSDAY: One O'Clock Lab Band, "Lab 2011." Straight from the mailbox, a great followup to last night's Syndicate gig. (A review of the CD will be posted at this site within a few days.)

  • FRIDAY: Tim Berne and Bill Frisell, "Theoretically." Re-released 1984 album puts a different spin on sax/guitar duo--skronkier than anything we'd ever do in Credulous, but nonetheless interesting.

  • SATURDAY: Esbjörn Svensson Trio, "Tuesday Wonderland." Great '06 release by the late Swedish pianist's genre-bending threesome.

  • SUNDAY: Flim & The BB's, "New Pants." Dick Oatts, Jimmy Johnson and company play early '90s fusion with integrity.
I've once again been digging into my vast CD collection in recent days, so even though I don't anticipate getting any new releases this week, there are still plenty of unblogged/untweeted titles from which I can choose.

Where Were You....

...ten years ago, when you heard the news? I've posted this in some form every year since I started blogging, and I pause to remember again:
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.

For those who may be new to reading this blog since then, I'll invite you to share your recollections in the comments to this post.

As I've said for several years now, 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.
I'm sure that the blogosphere will be full of great tributes today, and I'll add links to those later, after I get back from playing in church this morning.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A New Day for Mean Green Football

Last fall, I was among those in the alumni marching band who bid farewell to the University of North Texas' Fouts Field after 58 seasons. Across I-35E, we could see the skeleton of what has since been christened Apogee Stadium rising in the distance, and we knew that things would never be the same for Mean Green football once this season began. And today, a not-quite-sellout crowd got to experience it in person.

The fact that the new stadium is across the freeway from the main campus certainly makes it a different game day experience from the outset. Parking on the stadium side is reserved for Mean Green Club members and season ticket holders, or one can park at Fouts Field (which is still there and sits forlornly in the distance, visible from many parts of the stadium) for ten dollars. Or you can do what I did, which is to park in another part of campus just east of Fouts for free; needless to say, the free lots were quite packed even by the time I got there, which was three hours before kickoff. It's quite a long walk from there, but everything is set up well for pedestrian flow, with a lane of the North Texas Blvd. bridge dedicated to walkers.

The tailgating experience is different as well, as several options are now available: The hill east of the stadium (which was built on the site of the university's former golf course) is open to those who wish to set up shop without the actual vehicles present, and a dirt lot across the street from the west side of the stadium is used for those who wish to drive in and park (though a pre-bought pass is required for that lot). Looking at the towering structure from across the street caused many of us to just stand there and bask in the different-ness of things for a while.

As for the stadium itself? I found it to be wonderful. Granted, my experience was atypical, as I managed to score an upgraded ticket to a club member whose wife was out of town. I had enjoyed being a guest in the Hospitality Deck at Fouts on many occasions in the past, and that was one of the things that several of us said we'd miss about the old setup, but the new club experience really provides the best of both worlds. (I'll write another Note after a game where I have a more Joe Average Fan experience, but this was really a great way to enjoy Opening Day.)

The club is entered through a special entrance and reached via elevator. The pregame buffet was tasty and plentiful, and the club room offered a spectacular view from all directions. During the game, club members can sit in their assigned seats (which are just below the press box level), stand on a center deck. or sit at tables or stand on one of two covered patio areas located in the area of each end zone.

During the game, one of the first things I noticed was that it was so much easier to hear everything in this stadium, as it's a lot more of an enclosed box than Fouts (indeed, the knock on Fouts has always been that the field and the seats are separated by a running track, which keeps even the front-row fans way too far away from the action). The PA announcer was heard more clearly, the Green Brigade marching band sounded great (and louder than before) both during the halftime show and in the stands, and the increased intimacy made this fan feel a lot more engaged with the game.

Although the Mean Green did score the first points in the stadium on a first-quarter touchdown, Houston would prevail in the end. Coach Dan McCarney has made some very positive changes in the team in his short time in Denton (one of the things that impressed a lot of people in our seating area was the fact that the team never quit, even when falling behind by over 30 points in the fourth quarter, thanks to nearly 500 passing yards from the Houston offense), but there is still work to be done. But that being said, the team has a spectacular new facility in which to play, a greatly enhanced game day experience for the fans, and they're finally free of the shackles of the white elephant across the freeway, which had to be a negative in terms of recruiting (what blue-chip player would want to come to Denton when his high school facility was undoubtedly nicer than Fouts?). I'm willing to bet that most of the fans came away from today's game with a similar sense of optimism, and their numbers should certainly grow throughout the season.

Several of us alums commented tonight that we couldn't believe that this was the same place where we had gone to school. UNT has undergone many positive changes in the past several years, and this beautiful new stadium is a great addition to not only the physical plant of the campus, but its fall weekend culture as well. I'll be back in two weeks for the next home game.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Kids Say the Darnedest Things When Translating Foreign Words

The kid was playing a piece marked dolce (Italian for "sweetly"), and we were reviewing the style before she started to play it...

ME: So, do you remember what "dolce" means?
KID: talked about it in sectionals.
ME: That's right. Do you remember what it means?
KID: Hmm...well, I know that it doesn't mean "Grandma."

(That's correct, of course, but I managed to tie it in ever so slightly with Grandma by pointing out that one of her grandmas might have called her "sweetie," which she confirmed was true.)

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Kids Say the Darnedest Things When Taken Out of Context

A kid walking into the band hall just now said, "Now I have nothing to bring! I usually rip the heads off." One can only wonder what in the world she was talking about...

(One of my Facebook friends suggested that perhaps she was talking about shrimp or crawfish; if so, that would be a most unusual--not to mention smelly--school lunch.)

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Their Futures

At the end of his lesson, a sixth-grade beginner said, "If I ever end up homeless, I'm gonna play my horn on the street corner for money."

I told him two things: 1) You should aspire to higher things than ever being homeless, and 2) If it really does happen, keep your case open so people will have a place to put the money.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Playing This Week in the Kevmobile

This week's listening included some of those funny little round things (actual CD's, as opposed to the usual iPod fare), courtesy of the Borders going-out-of-business sale:
  • MONDAY: OK, this is a first: Evidently, I managed to not tweet what I played that day; chalk it up to being the first Monday of the new school year. And now, six days later, I can't remember...

  • TUESDAY: Red Hot Chili Peppers, "I'm With You." A new semi-mainstream rock album on a major label? Hey, it happens...especially with an album like this, where the tunes just jumped out of the speakers at me when I heard the samples on eMusic.

  • WEDNESDAY: Tomasz Stanko, "Wolnosc w Sierpniu." The title of the Polish trumpeter's album means "Freedom in August," so it seemed appropriate to play it on the last day of that month. (I also played a semi-obscure European jazz musician on purpose, as a tongue-in-cheek promise to a friend who pretended to lose faith in me because of my mainstream choice from the day before.)

  • THURSDAY: Brandt Brauer Frick, "You Make Me Real." German trio plays techno-type music w/ mostly acoustic instruments. (I can't wait for the first release from their large ensemble later in the fall!)

  • FRIDAY: They Might Be GiantsZ, "Join Us." Latest effort from Brooklyn duo, procured for $6 at Borders' closing sale.

  • SATURDAY: Manu Katché, "Third Round." Album #3 on ECM from French drummer features a young band and funky grooves. (Also obtained at the Borders sale, for around seven bucks.)

  • SUNDAY: Michel Camilo, "One More Once." Pianist revisits his classic tunes with all-star big band featuring Paquito D'Rivera, Jon Faddis, and more.
Those last three selections have, as I said above, been on actual CDs, and I may well dig into the shelves at Casa de Kev in the week ahead to catch up on things I haven't listened to in a while.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Other Instruments

As the sound of the beginner trumpet class wafted in from the other room yesterday afternoon, my beginner alto player described it as follows: "They sound like a swarm of bees." (There was some accuracy to this, as the kids who still need work on their air support were undershooting the target note by an octave and a fifth. But hey, they'll get it; we were all beginners at one time.)

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Fintess Equipment

It takes a bit of pinky dexterity to play the saxophone's lowest notes, and some kids struggle with it at first. My running joke is that they should "go to L.A. Fitness and use the pinky machine." This week, one kid's response to that was, "Wait--is that real?"

(I assured him that it wasn't...but if there actually were such a thing as a pinky machine, could you imagine the size of the weights? And the machine itself would be so small that it would have to be nailed down, lest someone take it home in their pocket.)