Thursday, March 22, 2012
So a warm winter = early pollination = happy trees and miserable Fiddler. When my choices are busking in the Public Garden (trees! plants! allergens!) or the subway (soot! decibels! lack of oxygen!), I'm staying home and feeling sorry for myself today.
Although I did have a lovely busk earlier this week, so that was good.
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
(Of course, your definition of "societal problem" and mine might vary.)
And of course, education doesn't begin and end in the classroom, and I have plenty of issues with certain aspects of American schooling, but really. Support good teachers.
Monday, February 06, 2012
Quote #2: Different conductor of a different group, while rehearsing the second movement of Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony: At this point, the beautiful music stops and EVERYTHING IS TERRIBLE FOREVER.
As much as I love teaching quirky kids, and I do, parents, please, if your child has a diagnosis, or even just an unusual learning style, it's really really helpful for me to know that up front. I've gotten terribly impatient with past students who I thought were just not listening or not practicing, while in retrospect, I now think they probably had learning disabilities of some sort. If I know that, I can work with them better, and it eases the frustration level of everybody involved.
I understand that parents don't want their children judged by labels, and I suppose there's no way for a parent to know that I don't do that, but there's a world of difference between "typical kid behaving badly" and, say, "kid with Asperger's Syndrome getting overwhelmed."
Music can give your quirky child a way to fit into a group. Trust me on this one, I was (OK, am) quirky myself. But let me help them and help you help them by giving me the information I need to make lessons enjoyable for all of us.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
This Friday, January 27 at 7:30 PM at Christ Church Unity in Brookline, MA, the Fusion String Ensemble will be performing our Winter Warmer concert. (Not that this winter needs all that much warming, but I digress.)
We'll be playing works by Mozart, Mahler, Mascagni, Vivaldi and Hsu. We ask a voluntary contribution of $8 at the door (which is truly voluntary); all proceeds go straight back to the group for future endeavors.
Here's the flyer, at Fusion's blog.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Why oh why 1) aren't cabbies required to demonstrate a basic working knowledge of Boston/Brookline/Cambridge/Somerville/Newton, or failing that, 2) isn't every cab equipped with a GPS?
The only cab company I've consistently been happy with is Veterans Taxi in Newton. They're dependable, polite, reliably take credit cards and each cab has a GPS, in sight of the passenger.
(Well, there was that one time the driver was listening to conservative talk radio, and the host said that nobody had ever died from a lack of access to health care, but the transportation itself was fine.)
Sometime when I'm at a computer, maybe I'll post my recent Bay State Cab experience. It was not a positive one.
Wednesday, January 04, 2012
In my philosophy, teaching music goes beyond teaching my students the mechanics of playing the instrument. I'm not even referring to the nebulous concept of "musicianship" here, because so much of that comes from simply growing up, but the experience of being a musician.
Through being a musician, I've learned enormous amounts about how to behave professionally, that there comes a point where merely competent but reliable musicians get hired more often than exceptionally talented but flaky one, that you don't badmouth your colleagues, teachers, students, students' parents, venues, wedding planners, conductors, etc.*, that you don't get gigs if you don't call people back, and so much more, all of which is equally applicable to life outside music.
No, I'm not going to try to explain all this to the six-year-old who's struggling through Go Tell Aunt Rhody, but I am going to show them how to take care of their things, explain why they should listen to their teacher and parent, disallow any teasing in my group classes and give them enough responsibility that it's noticed when they don't practice or show up for lessons.
So while I think it's a bad idea to try to teach an instrument you've never played (and I mean, never even touched), I also think it does your students a disservice if you've never been a working musician on any level, and this idea, too, is applicable to any field.
*Badmouthing is not the same as venting. Venting is fine, as long as you're careful about to whom you choose to vent.