Monday, September 24, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Famous Composers

A quick discussion took place this morning about how music used to be written in manuscript, and how a lot of it was rather messy...

ME: I don't know if you've ever seen a picture of a Beethoven manuscript, but they're amazingly sloppy.
KID: Well, yeah, but wasn't he blind?
ME: No, he was deaf.
KID: Oh, I thought he was born blind and deaf.
ME: You might be confusing him with Helen Keller. But Beethoven had cooler hair.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Musical Accidentals

Now that Region Jazz tryouts are over, the kids who aren't taping for State get to dive into the concert All-Region music, so the subject of the double sharp comes up again...

ME: So what does a sharp do to a note...and I want a better answer than "makes it sharper."
KID: Crap! That's what I was gonna say.
ME: You can give me a better answer than that. A sharp makes a note...
KID: Higher?
ME: Right. By how much?
KID: Twenty cents!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Maintenance Guys Say the Darnedest Things

As my student and I were headed into the practice room at the beginning of class, a guy with a big box of A/C filters said, "Do you mind if i change out your filter real quick? I don't want to disturb y'all's li'l session or anything."

I've heard private lessons called many things (including "tutorials" and--ugh--"privates"), but that's the first time I've heard one referred to as a "li'l session." (Would my college lessons be called "big sessions" because they last an hour?)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About the Order of Lessons

I thought that one particular eighth-grader would want to go first as he did the week before, but he deferred to the seventh-grader next to him.

ME: So why don't you want to go first?
KID: If I go now, I don't go now.
(That statement left me so puzzled that I didn't have a reply.)

Monday, September 17, 2012

KIds Say the Darnedest Things When Their Horns Don't Work

This morning, one of them was having squeaking problems; he looked at his octave key (which can sometimes get bent and not close properly) and asked, "Should this key be more closed-minded?" I assured him that it should remain open to as many differing viewpoints as possible.

Friday, September 14, 2012

It May Be a Great Name for a Lake (and a Rock Song), But My House Will Not Become a "Possum Kingdom"

Last night, there was a mystery afoot at Casa de Kev...

Yesterday morning, when I went into the kitchen, I noticed that a couple of kitchen towels were on the floor, and the little scrubber brush that usually sits above the sink was in the sink; a few of the plastic cups on my counter had also been knocked over. I wondered if we'd had a very small earthquake overnight; i didn't think anything could have run into the house, because I'm too far back from the street and on an elevation.

Those things were a minor annoyance at worst, but I was even more annoyed that the vent duct on my dryer (which I was about to use) was disconnected from the wall, and it took me quite a while to reattach it. But once I got that done, all was well and I left for teaching.

Upon my arrival at home last night, there was no further sign of mayhem in my kitchen, save for one thing: The carafe portion of my coffeemaker, which was drying separately on the counter when I left, was sitting in the middle of the floor! It was unbroken, mind you, but on the floor...and I doubt that it got there on its own power.

So my next-door neighbor and I came to the conclusion that it had to be a critter in the house--maybe a squirrel or large rat, something strong enough to knock the coffee carafe off the counter. And to tie yesterday morning's two events together, it had likely gotten in through the dryer vent...which was, at that moment, preventing its exit.

But a fairly thorough search of the house turned up no sign of a critter, nor had I seen the usual things that accompany such a thing (things chewed up, droppings, etc.). My plan was to leave some things randomly placed on the kitchen counter to see if there was a repeat performance, and I wasn't sure how well I would sleep...

But wait--there's more! The critter was spotted. I found it behind my washer, and appeared to be either a ginormous rat or a possum (the nose made it look like the latter). It was closed up in my laundry room as I threw out suggestions to my friends who were up late on Facebook, and the consensus was to call animal control, who we (correctly) assumed answered their phones 24/7 and dealt with after-hours emergencies.

And just like that, the "siege" was over. The Animal Control guy came in, ducked behind the washer, and carried the possum out of the house by the tail with his gloved hand. I could finally sleep in peace!

(And later today, I'll make sure that the outside of my dryer vent--which opens up into the neighbor's yard--is properly covered.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About the Obvious

This beginner was having trouble with puffy cheeks, as beginners often do...

ME: So have you gotten to practice in front of a mirror, like we talked about over the summer?
KID: Umm, my horn hasn't been home yet.
ME: You haven't practiced at home at all?
KID: I haven't really figured out how to take my horn home yet.
ME: Figured it out? What do you mean?
KID: Do I come get it after school?
ME: Yeah; you don't have to carry it around to all your classes or anything.
KID: Ooooohhhh...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Auto-Correct Says the Darnedest Things

I was typing out an email this morning and accidentally spelled "yesterday" as "yestetday." When I did that, auto-correct's word suggestion was "redhead terse." I think auto-correct must have been smokin' some auto-crack this morning...

Where Were You...

...eleven years ago, when you heard the news? My story, which is repeated almost unchanged ever year, follows:
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.
And it blows my mind that, if I asked some of my current students about that fateful day, their answers would be "I was an infant/toddler at the time."
May we never forget...

Friday, September 07, 2012

KIds Say the Darnedest Things About Exotic Diseases...

...and sometimes the teacher responds in kind.  Yesterday morning, the kid I was about to teach was staring at himself in the mirror and fretting over a pimple he hadn't seen before...

KID: Aaaaaah! Where did this come from? I probably have some awful disease.
ME: Yeah, you've probably contracted West Nile. [feigning sad face] It's been nice knowing you...
KID: Yeah, and by now, it's changed into swine flu.
ME: Right...because you were just standing outside, and a pig came up and bit you.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Unusual Accidentals

The All-Region music for saxophones this year has some double sharps in it, and most of the freshmen haven't seen then before...
ME: So this sign is called a double sharp. Do you know what a double sharp does to a note?
KID: Makes it even sharper?
ME (laughs): Well, that's not a wrong answer, but I'd like more details. So by how much does a single sharp raise a note?
KID: Umm...
ME: I'll give you a hint--it raises it by a half...
KID: A half note!