Monday, September 13, 2010


Listening to students in Choir makes me want to sing — sometimes just because it's difficult not to sing along, and sometimes with the desire to correct them by example. My mind is a whirlwind of ways to tell/explain/show them what to do to improve, but it's almost always not the right moment to jump in and do so.

The Theory kids learned what music is today! I think they had half as much fun as I did coming up with definitions of music and then listening to me play exceptions. They also called me "crazy" and "weird" a lot...even before I told them that the recording of 4'33" was of my own performance. It's a good thing I'm used to that — thanks, friends!

Without going into any portions of my socratic dialogue with the students, I would love to hear from readers which of the following selections does not qualify as music.  You earn extra points if you give a reason why.

Musical examples I played today:
1. Sagaba - Blue Scholars (iTunes)
2. Resource (from Koyaanisqatsi - Philip Glass) (iTunes)
3. Pretty - Katie Makkai (YouTube (full version))
4. Phel-den La-mo - Guyoto Monks (iTunes (the group, not the specific song))
5. An alarm clock
6. 4'33" (John Cage) - Myself and pianist Mrs. D (not my co-op)
7. A sample from the CD that accompanies our workbook

Music i had prepared but didn't have the time or need to play:
1. Three Quarter-Tone Pieces: II Allegro (Charles Ives) - Cheryl Seltzer and Joel Sachs (iTunes)
2. Poème Électronique - Edgard Varèse (iTunes)
3. Toxic (Dennis, Jonback, Karlsson, and Winnberg) - Britney Spears (iTunes)
4. The "Empire Today" jingle
5. A Gamelan piece (YouTube)
6. A Joik sung by a Sami (YouTube)
7. Gregorian Mass for Christmas Day, Introit, Puer natus est nobis

We were cursed by out-of-tune guitars in GM today. We spent a good portion of the first class letting them practice as we wandered around to tune everyone's guitars by ear. That wasn't good enough, our ears were still miserable every time more than one guitar tried strumming the same chord. We then spent a significant portion of the second class tuning every guitar by the piano. Now we're about 80% satisfied. It's bearable.

A GM student said "I saw Mr. Inman on Saturday! With a girl!" Mrs. D said to me in front of the class, "You have no private life anymore." Yes, as my friend and I were getting pizza 45 minutes away from where I teach, I was being pointed out to a father. I need to start dressing nicer on weekends.

There's this junky old bicycle that has been painted orange and sitting in the choir room all year. We stuffed it into a small connected room and have been tripping over it all the time. It turns out this was an item found by the marching band percussion section, who then painted it and left it in their summer practice room (the choir room). Mrs. D joked this morning that we should get rid of it. Near the end of the day Mr. H, the band director, walked in for something and I said, "Oh, hi! I have something for you," walked into that room and returned with the bike. I handed it to him with a grin and he begrudgingly took it and walked out, mumbling something about his percussion section. The look on Mrs. D's face was a priceless expression of shock, and this event had us laughing for the rest of the day. I have a feeling she'll be telling that story for a long time.

I can't believe I got away with that.

No comments:

Post a Comment