Monday, September 30, 2013

Kids Say the Darnedest Things When They Make Mistakes

After a kid accidentally left a note completely out of a measure in the music he was working on today, he exclaimed, "Oh, my weirdness!"

I told him that was the second-funniest thing I'd ever heard a kid say in that situation. The funniest? A Southern belle-type girl who always used to say "Oh, my land!" after her mistakes...which eventually devolved into "Oh, Mylanta!" (Maybe her mistakes were giving her digestive distress?)

Friday, September 27, 2013

Principals Say the Darnedest Things

My district is now requiring students to wear ID badges on lanyards at all times while at school, and one of the schools, after a long roll-out, is going live with the process on Monday. In anticipation of the event, an assistant principal made a very (unintentionally?) amusing announcement this morning.

PRINCIPAL: So you guys get on Twitter, or whatever it is you do, and remind yourselves to wear your IDs starting on Monday.

(This made both the kid I was teaching and myself laugh uproariously. But at least the principal didn't call it "the Twitter," like someone much older and less internet-savvy would have done.)

KID: I don't even have a Twitter! I have enough trouble with Facebook and Instagram...

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Old Cliché Phrases

ME: What's up with all the missing slurs all of a sudden? You're tonguing everything under the sun today.
KID: Maybe I even tongued the sun!
ME: Now that would be painful...

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Cashiers Say the Darnedest Things

I had to make a late-night run for some drain cleaner last night, and the cashier was in a jovial mood...

CASHIER: Alright--that'll be 464 pennies.
ME: I bet you'd love it if I actually paid you that way.
CASHIER: Ah, I wouldn't care; I get paid by the minute, and I'd have to count each of 'em slowly and carefully.

He then regaled me with a long-but-funny story about an old buddy of his who ended up with a $4000-something tax bill, and--after multiple trips to the bank over a week or so--paid his accountant the entire amount in pennies. The guy, the cashier and a few other friends evidently had a grand old time sitting around, drinking beer and unrolling the pennies to stuff them in more than a few gunnysacks.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Musical Notation

One of the Region etudes has a breath mark after bar one, mostly because there isn't another logical place to breathe until bar five. But a kid this morning just blew right through that breath mark as if it weren't there...

ME: So why do you think the composer put a breath there?
KID: Because there was a bug on the page?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Musical Markings

A middle-schooler and I were discussing the use of the accent mark in music...

ME: What happens when you play a note with an accent?
KID: You start speaking French?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Kids Frequently Say the Darnedest Things About Rhythmic Values

This semester, nearly all my students (middle school, high school and college--everyone except beginners) have some sort of double-dotted quarter note rhythm in their music. I've had multiple occurrences of this scenario:

ME: So the double-dotted quarter note is like a quarter note tied to an eighth note, tied to a sixteenth note. How much is all of that worth?
KID: 1.75.

(While counting in decimals would solve the argument of the "and" vs. "te" subdivisions once and for all, it would be kind of annoying in regular usage. Imagine a director saying, "OK, everyone come in on the .5 of beat four.")

Where Were You...

...when you heard the news, a dozen years ago? This entry from 2004 bears repeating:
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.

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 the school where i was teaching this morning held its traditional 9/11 moment of silence during the late 8:00 hour, it struck me that the sixth grader I was teaching at the time was still a year away from being born on that fateful day in '01.

It's been a long time now...but may we never forget.