April 26, 2010 at 2:04 AM
Last night, my husband was duking it out with the concertmaster solos from Also Sprach. I haven't been playing in our local orchestra because my check always goes almost entirely to the babysitter (and babysitters are hard to come by). One of my husband's symphony colleagues asked if I were still writing my blog, so I guess I have been remiss. So here is my update.
Though the economic picture for public schools in Georgia is not pretty, my job (strings at an arts magnet elementary, general music at a neighborhood school), is apparently not in danger of being cut. We have had 7 furlough days and will likely have several next year. One large Atlanta district just declared all of their elementary band and orchestra positions as "non-essential", so not only are 60+ people out of jobs, they are not going to be offered other music positions in the district.
My school job is always ridiculously busy, as I see about 600 students during the week. I overslept on Friday, all the way to 6:07 a.m. The neighborhood school I teach at has an elementary chorus; their music festival performance was in March. We have a lot of transient students, so the numbers of students in the group is rather fluid. It was a challenge to get them ready, especially as I had a weekly fight with classroom teachers to let them come to rehearsal. Then during their festival performance, I had a student vomit profusely and loudly during their second song. The other members kept it together and kept singing, for which they received much kudos. I may also get to start a violin class at that school next year, so I just wrote another donorschoose.org proposal to hopefully acquire a few violins for those students in need.
My string students at my arts magnet school have their end of year concert on May 13. We have to play in the morning because I have a district required computer class every Thursday from 4:30-8:30 p.m. Students just finished our standardized testing, so my teaching schedule was derailed for almost 2 weeks. With so much emphasis on those tests, it's hard to get the students back to their regular routine after the tests are completed.
I have just begun teaching a few violin students at a community arts academy that offers music and dance classes year round. Some classes are taught at the community center of one of the local housing projects and some are taught in conjunction with an after school program for urban youth. Right now, I have five beginning students ages 4-6.
I had a minor rotator cuff inpingement in my left shoulder (I unexpectedly stepped in a dip in the grass and jerked my arm in the process). I took a medrol pack (didn't sleep for a couple of days and would randomly turn red) to take out the inflammation and have some exercises to do. It seems much better, so I don't think I'll have to do anything else for it. I was playing alot of Easter gigs and had some symphony concerts during that time, but I have been able to take it easy the last 2 weeks. The orchestra I am concertmaster for is winding down it's season with a pops concert featuring Chuck Leavell, a former keyboard player and music director for the Rolling Stones. He's a big deal down here because he also used to play with the Allman Brothers (whose "Big House" museum just had it's grand opening in Macon). Our season, though not huge, has been increased to 13 concerts next season.
My next performance, though, is just with my children at their school talent show on Friday. They are singing "All God's Creatures Got a Place in the Choir". It modulates often, so we added a verse in D so they could also play it once on their violins. They are going to be dressed as cats (I get to be a bumble bee).
So that's my update! And now I must go back to the excitement printing 5th grade graduation songs and planning for a day of music on the cart.
Let me know if I can help you with the rotator cuff problem. Trust me, I know an awful lot abou that.
It's good to ear from you again, Patricia. 600 students a week! Wow! You should get paid by the head. I've always admired your ability to teach in public schools which are almost combat zones and maintain your sanity, too.
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