Thursday, August 26, 2010

Seasonal difficulties

A student of mine was complaining about having to go to religious school in the fall. Her mother calmly explained that attending religious school is part of being Jewish.

Later, on the way out...

Mom, to me: Happy New Year!
Student: What do you mean, Happy New Year? It's nowhere near January.
Me, to student: That is why you have to go to religious school.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I'm not sure what you're king of, sir...

OK, I don't care how well-phrased and polite your "I need a dollar for public transportation" speech is, you lose all credibility the second you're a grown man wearing a Burger King crown, especially when you're alone and nowhere near a Burger King. And if you really need to catch the #1 bus, you're not going to have much luck at Roxbury Crossing. I realize that walking to Dudley in the rain would have made your crown soggy, sir, but that still won't make the #1 bus stop at Roxbury Crossing.

Should I be offended?

So yesterday, a youngish guy came up to me and handed me his business card and told me he teaches musicians about nutrition because his mother died of cancer. (That's a summary; he was slightly more coherent than that.) Seems to have something to do with wheatgrass juice.

I mean, I know I'm fat, but do I really look that bad? (That's rhetorical, son.)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Reminder to self... not greet the news from a parent that their child has been practicing by breaking into a rousing chorus of "Miracle of Miracles".

Cuteness and quackery

Two children, a boy around 8 and a girl around 4 came up to watch me play. When I paused, the little girl asked me my name. I told her, asked her hers, got an answer, after which she buried her face in her brother's shoulder (in a cute-shy way, not a scared-shy way). Brother said, "She wants to know if she can pet the duck."

I should probably introduce y'all to the duck at some point.

Anyway, I said yes, and she patted its little stuffed head and scampered off, happy as could be.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Under where?

I'm contemplating how to institute a no-underpants policy in my in-home teaching.

No, no, it's not like that. Good Lord, what do you people think???

What I mean is:

1) I do not want to see anybody's underpants on the floor, even if it is their own room.

2) I would vastly prefer it if every member of the household over diaper age wore pants or some other underwear-covering garment while I'm there.

3) I do not ever want to hear an adult member of the household calling down the stairs about how he needs to get himself more underwear. (Note: This was funny, not creepy, but still.)

Thank you.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Almost, but not quite, I think

I had a conversation the other day with a saxophonist in the Public Garden. Well, in honesty, it was less of a conversation and more of a monologue on his part, but that's OK. He has a lot of opinions about music, which is well and good, except I'm of the mindset that when a topic is introduced with which you are unfamiliar, it's really just fine to admit your unfamiliarity and move on.

To wit: Bluegrass, while certainly influenced by jazz and blues, is not "just white people trying to play the blues"; there's a bunch of other stuff in there. In the words of Bill Monroe, bluegrass is "Scottish bagpipes and ole-time fiddlin'. It's Methodist and Holiness and Baptist. It's blues and jazz, and it has a high lonesome sound. It's plain music that tells a good story. It's played from my heart to your heart, and it will touch you. Bluegrass is music that matters."

Also, yes, the musical Oliver! is based on a novel by Charles Dickens, but Dickens was long gone by the time of the musical. Oliver! premiered in London in 1960, was written by Lionel Bart, and had little to do with Rogers and Hammerstein and even less to do with Currier and Ives.

(As a side note, I just learned that Nathaniel Currier was born in Roxbury. That's pretty cool.)

I mean, the saxophonist might have been drawing some kind of parallel between Dickensian culture and modern theatre, but if he was, it got lost somewhere along the way.

He was also trying to explain jazz progressions to me, which is fine, but as deeply steeped in classical training as I am, I think I would need to start with My First Jazz Chart by Kenner.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


A girl, probably around eight years old, came up and said, "You know what would be a good song for you to play? Beethoven."

I asked if there was anything in particular by Beethoven she wanted.

"Oh, I don't know the names of anything. Just, you know, Beethoven."

So I played Ode to Joy, and she seemed happy.