wednesday report

November 8, 2006

Let me draw my classroom for you…

The band hall, which is a large room about the size of half the typical gym. Plus lockers of various sizes, plus shelves, plus closets, plus tubas hanging from the wall, plus percussion equipment everywhere…plus chairs….plus music stands…plus students. About a hundred twenty of them.

When you enter and straggle your way through all of that, past the directors offices, past the uniform closet, you find a hallway. In the back of that hallway is a cluttered room filled with chimes, timpani, bass drums, and a million and a half hat boxes. Yes, hat boxes, lining the wall. This is where I teach. And its about forty degrees in there at any given moment.

If you can, you grab about six chairs and six stands and you crowd everyone in, and you hope they don’t drop their saxophones, or that they pierce their sides with tubular bells. Then, you sit down, do a quick warm-up (which is useless in this meat locker) and then work on stuff for about an hour.

Today was good. They were attentive. Ryan 1 is getting to where he keeps his jokes to himself, and laughs quietly when I mess up. Ryan 2 only had two spaz attacks today. He’s a fun kid, but he gets excited very quickly. Marg didn’t totally dominate the rehearsal with complaints, and Colin…oh Colin.

Colin is an ex-student of mine. I started to teach him when he first started saxophone, then passed him off to a friend because of extenuating circumstances. In the last two years, he has improved so much! He played through one etude, and only had a couple mistakes. He is on a good path.

A matter of mere weeks before they have Region tryouts. Two more sectionals until then. Hopefully, Thanksgiving won’t kill them, since most of them won’t practice too much over the holiday.

Did I mention that I love teaching?!


  1. It is always fun to read about someone else’s challenges- I think that I could have substituted some names of my students for yours and had just about the same day you did! My frustration today was getting all excited about recording my jazz band so that I could listen to it over the weekend and make some rehearsal notes- only to walk into the classroom and see my best players were absent- AAARGH!!!

    Hang in there- you are most definately not alone!

  2. I wrote a comment to this post – and now it’s gone. DId I do something wrong?

  3. I have no idea. But I want to hear what you had to say. I hope you can say it again.

  4. Well, I’m not sure I can accurately recreate it – my wriitng is NEVER as good the secnd time around. I’m actually a freak of nature in the eyes of most English department staff in that I don’t revise. I mean, sure, I’ll rework a word here and correct for spelling and grammar there, but I don’t do wholesale revisions with circles and arrows and all that. Made parts of grad school a drag, but I managed.

    ANYWAY, I said something in the missing comment about how I envied your office space – meat locker similarities notwithstanding. Being and adjunct, I have no office whatsoever, which means that I NEVER check my voice mail (I even forget that I HAVE an extension in the college’s phone system) and I get to schlep everything I need for classes back and forth from home, which means that I’m not always sure I actuall have everything I need. That I live 3 minutes from work helps A LOT, but it would still be the BOMB to have my own office. Maybe someday.

    I also mentioned that I may hit you up for music teaching advice. I never learned to read music, I never learned to play an instrument and the closest I get to working with music is singing in the car (never in the shower – always in the car). My oldest daughter is learning to play the flute, and I feel incompetent to help her when she gets stuck (and can’t tell when she’s hitting a note properly).

    I also offered this link as proof and illustration of above:


    I think that’s all I had to say. If I think of anything else, I’ll come back.

  5. If you have questions, you ask. I’ll do my best, even though flute isn’t my main instrument. Always glad to help.

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