January 2007

It was a Monday

January 29, 2007 21:24

Warning: tired teacher blog below
Did you know that when it is actually below freezing, that showing up on time is optional (or at all)? Ditto for rain. I know I live in the south now, but this is a bit ridiculous. Schools actually do run on time here, so yes, you do need to show up on time for your before school Suzuki class. And, yes, you should listen to your recording that should have been bought 6 months ago. Oh, yeah, practice is a nice touch too. I have 2 beginner classes that are like night and day. Some parents totally get it-they are supportive in the right ways, their class goes smoothly and those students take off. It's frustrating to see some such a great opportunity for these city students wasted by lack of follow-through. In our middle school, again, so many students are just squandering away another great opportunity to take ownership of their own learning. You really should remember that a D natural is a D. And that F# is a high 3 on the viola C string. And that ears can hear pitches without tapes for your fingers. And those beautiful fake nails that match your violin (whose painted on color is not found in nature) have to go. And good grammar will get you a lot farther than "where you at"/"where you wuz"/"what is that thang" and "what I did". And yes, you might just be bored after you forget your music and hang your head for most of class. And yes, I expect you to practice because I am trying to help you!

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A Mish-Mash of Standards

January 28, 2007 08:07

Events of the past week:

The gas bill issued was resolved at our former residence. The new owner claimed alternately that he was having trouble switching it over to their name and/or he didn't know he had to do it (how come nobody contacted us then?), it's amazing how quickly it could be fixed when the shut-off notice was arranged.

Thursday: Zoe's 5th birthday. Lots of emotional angst. Lots of frogs and Sponge Bob.

Saturday: Pops concert with the Four Freshmen (not the orginals). Now, they sing and play their instruments very well, but their audience chit-chat was of the lounge lizard variety. And even if the audience is getting sloshed, you are not supposed to be sarcastically bashing the people who came to hear you. The arrangements were mostly of the handwritten manuscript form-easy to turn smooth harmonies into horribly out of tune notes when its unreadable (the worst manuscript had the copyist's name stamped on it in very large capital letters).

Today: Just saw Veggie Tales version of Mikado ("We are vegetables of Japan"?!). After church, it is open house at our daughter's school. We get to meet next year's kindergarten teacher. Then naps, do a few hours of work for school, and practice a little.

Preview of the week:
Tuesday: recruit students for the middle school half of my job. For some students it's their home school. For others, they (or usually parents) choose to go there to specialize in the arts. And although an application is filled out, it is not a selective process, more of an arbitrary lottery (and you guess how well that works...).

Time for coffee!

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Too old to be cool

January 23, 2007 21:06

My husband just got a call to contract local musicians for a well-known pop artist in March, so I should get to play (though I may need to hide my well earned streak of gray). The contractor likes the orchestra to look "young" and well, I look like somebody's mom (because I am!). We have already aged ourselves out of a certain very popular pyro-laden Christmas show we used to play. And now my old geezer bones better go to sleep so that I can teach my young whippersnappers at 7:45 a.m.

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Oh Danny boy (or whatever your name is), the pipes the pipes are calling

January 22, 2007 15:12

Question of the day: will the college aged new owner of our old house (paid for by the doctor daddy) finally realize that yes, if you do not call the gas company and switch the service over like you were supposed to back in December, that the previous owner (who is very steaming mad from receiving yet another bill) may very well cancel the service starting tomorrow, and yes, tomorrow,your pipes may very well freeze? GRRRR!!!! Stay tuned...

Now on to other things. I will get a decent amount of practice in tonight (after Kindermusik, after dinner, after dress-up, after a few fights over a doll house, after my daughters' own little violin lessons), as I only have a little work to do on the computer for school. I have to record the first movement of Mozart #4 with cadenza for my Suzuki training this summer. My teaching job includes a Suzuki program at an arts magnet school in the inner city, and I am enjoying it very much. I have known the Mozart for over 20 years now (ouch!), but I swear, the longer you play the Mozart, the more you realize how treacherous it can be. I've also been reviewing a variety of other things like Dont Etudes and Wieniawski Scherzo Tarantelle, all the while pining my lack of opportunities to play sonatas.

Oh well. On to Kindermusik!

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A Weekend of Warhorses

January 13, 2007 20:45

This weekend I am playing in the orchestra for a conducting workshop at Mercer University. It's a smorgasboard of everyone's favorite pieces crammed into 5 rehearsals and 1 performance. The best part is that the conductors have to show what they want without a lot of verbiage. The day started with the chamber version of Appalachian Spring. Then it was on to the full orchestra. How many times can you play the opening introduction and/or the stringendo leading to the final section of the 4th movement of Brahms's Symphony #1? We also did bits of Beethoven #1 (last movement), Beethoven #5 (1st movement), Egmont, Tchaik 5 (mvmt 2), Barber Adagio, Ase's Death, Siegfried Idyll, Mendelssohn Italian Symphony (mvmt 1) and the Hebrides. We have more of the same on Sunday and then a final rehearsal & concert on Monday. Our pay per service is rather paltry, so my babysitter is making out great, while I'll have about 60 dollars left at the end. Tuesday is back to school, so it's nice just to play and get a little respite from the sturm und drang of middle school.

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Test Anxiety

January 8, 2007 20:09

Today I took my state of Georgia required computer competency test for teachers. Exactly one question related to my subject area (about mp3 and wav files). I am normally a good test taker, but I had some anxiety about this one, because not only is my computer expertise lopsided, but it was also after school (after teaching 8 string classes) which is when my brain is always a bit fried. Anyway, my test seemed to have an inordinate amount of questions about kids totalling their bags of candy by making a spreadsheet and applying the Auto Sum. I did pass, however, so my certificate can now change from nonrenewable to renewable. Tomorrow I will actually have some time to practice before school (at about 7 a.m.) and at the end of the day before one of my more favorite teacher pastimes-required meetings that have nothing to do with me.

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