Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Had I "stepped up" as a sub teaching a middle school band class, I might be doing better now


As I went through some of my Sibelius 7 scores, I found one for chamber orchestra called “test” and it looked like a few measures for a jazz quartet.  I don’t remember keying this in, and it might be a sample from Sibelius.  The parts look handwritten, as is common in symphony scores.

The object reminded me of my “failure” when doing a substitute teaching assignment for a middle school band class in January 2005.  I described this on the Drama Blog on Oct. 17, 2008, and to some extent on this blog on July 25, 2007.

So why should it have been so hard to stand up in front of the band class, on a conductor’s podium, read an orchestral score (of the “Prehistoric Suite”) and actually conduct the kids, since the regular teacher had failed to specify a student conductor for these less mature classes.  I needed to do this nine days in a row.

Maybe the students would balk when I got it wrong, but I think my merely standing there would have helped control the situation. 

It would have vindicated that my nine years of piano had meant something, even if band is quite different. 

Just look at the score and follow it.  And point.  It can’t be that hard.

Had I “stepped up” to the challenge, maybe teaching would have been a go.  History would have gone differently.  I probably would have toned down my Internet postings, and never pubbed “The Sub”.  The whole “implicit content” incident (related July 27) – the equivalent of mixing the SCOTUS Elonis case (Dec. 1) with “The Interview” (and raising similar questions about global Internet broadcast to impressionable, susceptible and easily tempted audience) would have been sidestepped.

And my own effort to produce my own music now might be further along. I must say, I wonder about the bizarre emails that sometimes show up asking about a piano teacher (even one cell phone call).  If it's a scam, I don't see how it works. 

As for the "opportunity" to conduct a student orchestra with zero training, think about it.  It seems ugly, but it’s a lot better than hucksterizing concert tickets (which some music majors have to do).  It’s better than driving a cab (or now Uber).  It’s better than the physical job of letter carrying.

Only Chairman Mao (and Kim Jong-un, who looks so foppish in his mug shots) would not have approved. Remember, the Left is usually far more moralistic than the Right. 

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