For many years now my case has been home to a very special occupant other than my bow and violin. This valued item is non other then my ostrich badge. The ostrich first came about during a lesson in my university days, when after failing to correct a mistake that was repeatedly pointed out to me, and which I was well aware I was making, my teacher informed me I was being an ostrich. She told me that by pretending my mistakes didn’t exist and ignoring rather than fixing them, I was sticking my head in the sand and leaving my rear exposed and sticking up in the air for the whole world to see. Needless to say the story stuck with me, and after retelling it in a chamber music rehearsal the following day, one of my friends decided to draw ostrich badges for my teacher and I. Ever since, the badge has held a proud place in the lid of my case, an excellent reminder to never leave my backside exposed.
The Ostrich Badge
While the meaning of the ostrich badge is quite clear to me, I have discovered it does not translate to my younger students as easily. They simply cannot comprehend my apparent dislike for the ploomed creatures, and in an attempt to understand ask, “Why do you hate ostriches?” For one of my students however, the question that came to mind when viewing the ostrich was, “How old was the person who drew that?” I explained the story to her, and as we continued her lesson we worked on a piece that she loved to rush. I pointed out the rushing to her, as I had for the previous weeks, and I told her she was being the Road Runner, and if she didn’t slow down she would run right off the cliff.
The ostrich and the Road Runner must have made an impression on her, because she came back to present me with an anti-Road Runner badge that she had made. The next week I when I corrected her bow hand, I told her to make sure her fingers stayed in place and didn’t fly all over while she was playing, “no flying fingers”, I said. After that she came back with an anti-flying fingers badge. The following week I corrected her on her use of dynamics, and sure enough, she came back with a pro-dynamics badge. Her only request was that all her badges be displayed in my case next to the ostrich.
So now my case is home not only to the ostrich badge, but also Badges by Bea. Bea’s badges have become the subject of as much conversation as the fabled ostrich, however, I find their translation is much more immediate. Often my students look questioningly at the new additions, and after finding out the meaning, smile and fix their flying fingers, slow down to avoid rushing and observe most of the dynamics on the page.
More entries: May 2014
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