Thursday, November 27, 2014

Parents Say the Darnedest Things

On the way back from dinner, Dad fires up the satellite radio, where Pharoah Sanders is playing a wonderfully squawky solo over a soulful beat...

ME: Ahh, Pharoah...
DAD (reading screen): Are you familiar with Pharoah Sanders?
ME: Very much so. I've even seen him live.
MOM: So is he dead now?
ME: That's not exactly what I meant.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Kids say the Darnedest Things About the Calendar

The subject of septuplets came up recently, so I threw in the historical tidbit that September was originally the seventh month of the year (and October the eighth month, and so on) until the Romans changed it...

ME: And they named the two new months after their most famous Caesars.
KID: January and February?

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Kids Continue to Say the Darnedest Things About Classical Composers

As we begin the "shopping for solos" season, it's inevitable that a piece by Bach will come up. I mentioned Bach's prominence as a composer, which led to the inevitable question...

ME: So...if I asked you to name me three classical composers, who would they be?
KID: Bach, Beethoven and...what's his name?--J. Elliott?
ME: Who?
KID: I think his name is J.S. Elliott.
ME: If you mean T.S. Eliot, he was a poet.
KID: Oops.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Kids Say the Darnedest Things About High-End Horns

When a middle schooler's horn kept having to go into the shop recently, his parents were pondering letting him use his older sibling's horn for auditions (the sibling is in college and not playing at the moment)...

ME: That would be cool if you could use (sibling)'s horn. It's really nice...
KID: The Selmer? I don't even know how to use that!
ME: it's still a saxophone...

Thursday, November 13, 2014

A Quick Holiday Quiz

How can you tell that Christmas is coming?

1) Colder temperatures.
2) Carols playing over the piped-in music at the mall.
3) Starbucks starts using the red cups.
4) You hear oboes playing "Deck the Halls" in the adjacent practice room.
5) All of the above, but you'd prefer to avoid #2 and #4 as much as possible.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Kids Say the Darnedest Things Upon Their Return to Lessons

I taught a student this week who came back for a few lessons after a six-month hiatus, and I let him know that there was space for him to return on a permanent basis if he wanted to do so...

ME: So I can definitely make a space for you if you want; I had one at the beginning of the year, but you didn't take it.
KID: I was gonna come back, but I thought I knew everything...and then I went to All-District, and I heard all these people doing all these dynamics and things, and I was like, "Crap! How do you even do all those things in one measure? It was like a sucker punch!"

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Kids Continue to Say the Darnedest Things About Their Mistakes

During a recent lesson, I caught a kid doing a missed articulation...

ME: The C# on the third beat isn't tongued.
KID: I knew that. I was testing you.
ME: Well, I passed....

Friday, November 07, 2014

Random Kids Say the Darnedest Things

I just heard this gem from a kid (probably middle school-aged) in front of me in line at Starbucks: "I had a dream that a dinosaur swallowed me whole, and I had a lightsaber and I cut my way out."

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Happy International Saxophone Day

Happy 200th birthday to Adolphe Sax! If not for his invention, I might be a...trumpet player. *shudder*

This is still my favorite comic about Saxophone Day (possibly because it could be the only one, but still...)

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Kids Continue to Say the Darnedest Things About Musical Symbols

To set it up, here's a rerun from two years ago this week:
A beginner had his first "line" from the book that actually lasted more than a single line; as often happens, he stopped at the end of the first line.
ME: So how do you know you're not done when you get to the end of the first line? What's missing?
KID (points to double bar): Black thing!
ME: What's the black thing called?
KID: Black thing!
That one cracked me up so much (mostly because the kid said it with so much determination) that I've mentioned it to subsequent beginners upon their arrival at that line, and it's become a running joke between me and some of this year's crew.

So one of them was fooled by the two-line line recently, and I asked him the same thing...

ME: So how do you know you're not done yet?
KID (points to double bar): It doesn't have that thing right there.
ME: What's that thing called?
KID : The stopper?

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Kids and Teachers Say the Darnedest Things As Tryouts Approach

This weekend is All-District for my seventh- and eighth-graders, so it's dry run time...

ME: We need to run through all your scales and the two etudes, and then we'll have a mock audition.
KID: What does that mean?
ME: Thar means that you audition, and then I mock you.
KID: (gives me a sad look until he realizes I'm not serious)

Later on, the same kid missed an easy key signature note and realized it fairly quickly...

ME: Don't stop and hang your head in shame; we have a lot to do today.
KID: Is this the mocking part?
ME: Only if you miss easy key signatures like that.