Friday, December 20, 2013

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Their Accompanists

As my students pick their solos and turn in their forms, I always check to make sure they've contacted an accompanist as well...

ME: So are you using someone on the list?
KID: No, it's someone from my church.
ME: Ahh yes, the proverbial Nice Lady from Church. (I've found that many students use the Nice Lady from Church rather than people on the list at school; said lady tends to be either really good or just awful--very few in-betweens.)
KID: Yeah, but it's a dude.
ME: That's right--you told me that. The Nice Dude from Church, then.
KID: He's nice-ish, but he has his Ph.D in music, so I hope he's not too pushy about everything.

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Their Solo Pieces

One of my students is playing a Bach gavotte for his solo, and I was seeing if he could pronounce the title and composer correctly...

ME: So how do you say the name of this piece?
KID: Guh-VO-tay.
ME: Close. Guh-VAHT. And who's the composer?
KID: John Sebastian Bach.
ME: Close. But it's not John.
KID: Joanne?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Band Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Choir Kids

While working on a solo with a student, we noted that the arranger broke some eighth-note beams between phrases, and how that made it look more like choral music than instrumental music...

ME: Do you know why they don't often beam eighth notes in choir music? (The correct answer, in my experience, is that each note corresponds to a sung syllable of the text.)
KID: Because otherwise, they can't count it very well?

Monday, December 16, 2013

Kids Say the Darnedest Things at Concerts

At the end of the show tonight, a random kid I didn't recognize said hello to me in the hallway. Figuring maybe he was a friend or sibling of a student (and being an outgoing person myself), I said hello back.

KID: So are you Emily's dad?
ME: Nope.
KID: Whose father are you?
ME: Nobody's, so far as I know.

Kids Continue to Say the Darnedest Things About Musical Terms

At this point, most of my beginners have learned the term "divisi"--a divided part on a single line. One beginner noticed a divisi duet that took up four lines: his response was, "Wow, that's a long DaVinci."

(And yes, a brief discussion of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would follow.)

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Reason #247 Why I'm Glad I Don't Work for a Corporation

While out running my errands this afternoon, I decided I wanted a peppermint mocha from the Starbucks inside the Tom Thumb where I was shopping. But they couldn't make any specialty drinks, because they'd run out of milk--this, despite being in a grocery store that is full of milk that they were not allowed to buy (yes, I asked). Things would be a lot simpler if the barista were allowed to do that, but i guess that would've taken too many layers of bureaucracy to accomplish. *sigh*

I'd LIke to Thank the Academy. (No, Really.)

We're iced in here in North Texas, so I might as well blog a bit...

I've ranted about various aspects of the Grammys over the years--everything from how they award most of the jazz awards before the TV show even comes on, to ridiculous mispronunciations of artists' names on the broadcast (like "Pat METH-uh-nee" back in the day) that would never happen to pop performers, but I think they've done something right this year, and It's the first time I've seen this: Putting people like Dave Koz and Boney James in the Instrumental Pop category, saving the Instrumental Jazz ranks for, well, people who play music that most jazz musicians would consider jazz, like Gary Burton, Christian McBride and Kenny Garrett. Well done, guys! This was needed years ago.

(I'd also like to thank the voters for giving nominations to some great artists that deserve wider recognition, such as Snarky Puppy and Darcy James Argue's Secret Society.)

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Choir Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Band Instruments

As one of my students came out of his saxophone lesson, the choir kids were already gathered in the hallway outside the practice wing...

CHOIR KID: Yeah, (band kid's name)! Way to rock that...trombone!
BAND KID: Nope. Saxophone.
CHOIR KID: I knew that. I was just checking to see if you knew.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About Old Composers

This morning, I was doing solo demos in lessons, and a piece by Handel came up. The kid had heard of "Messiah" before and recognized the melody to the Hallelujah Chorus, but I didn't expect what came next...

KID (points to top of music): We have lots of those in our house.
ME (after thinking for a second): Handles?
KID: Yup.

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Kids Continue to Say the Darnedest Things About Their Mistakes

A student was playing through a solo and suddenly had a measure where everything just came apart...

ME: Whoa, what happened there?
KID: I'm just looking at that as one giant measure of stupid.

Monday, December 02, 2013

Kids Say the Darnedest Things When They Use Bad Grammar

This morning, I was working with a kid who had tempo problems with a certain passage...

ME: Think about a few years from now, when you're driving. Your passengers wouldn't appreciate a sudden burst of acceleration like that.
KID: Yeah, I've droven my sister's sports car before, and you barely have to touch the accelerator.
ME: "Droven," huh? I'm guessing you haven't had English class today.
KID: Yeah, I have.

(The same kid would tell me later in the lesson that √Čtude #2 was the "funnest" of the three.)