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Mirror, mirror

January 4, 2010

Yesterday, when we got to the elementary school gym for AJ’s first basketball game of the season, the girls’ game before us was just finishing up. The girls were playing hard and all the parents were yelling. When the game ended, the teams went into huddles and the boys took the floor to start warming up. I sat down on the sidelines near one of the girls’ teams, whose coach was finishing up his end-of-game pep talk. “Okay, put your hands in,” said the coach. “Are you ready to cheer?”


“No, I said ARE YOU READY?”


“That’s better. Here we go. One! Two! Three!”


The boys don’t name their teams Purple Dragons or Rainbow Unicorns. They name their teams after college or pro teams. Manly, fierce names. Andy’s team named themselves The Titans. Last year they were the Bulls. The girls played every bit as tough as the boys, maybe tougher. I kept hearing the boys’ teams apologizing to each other when they ran into each other. They may sound fierce, but they are no purple dragons.

Is it any wonder that I’ve been wanting to shout “Go Purple Dragons!” all day?

I had another entertaining afternoon at The School of Rock. My adult student is making terrific progress. We had fun dissecting a gavotte. I’ve mostly only taught beginners, so it’s fun being able to work on more nuanced technical issues. Also he invited me to join some of the other store teachers to play Irish music for St. Patrick’s Day gigging. This could be fun. This is the perfect midlife crisis job. T, the 7-year-old boy entertained me greatly today. He walked in all excited to play, got his instrument out and then found a million reasons not to put his fingers on the strings,

“I’m so TIRED. My legs hurt. Can I sit down?”

“No, you need to stand to learn the violin.”

And then, a little later, “My back hurts. Can I lean against the wall?”

But he wasn’t really complaining. He was just wiggly and distractible. I had to turn the full length mirror I use to help teach positioning to face the wall, because he kept making faces at himself in it. He rolled his eyes and, in mock protest, pouted “Now I can’t look at my pretty self!” But in the end we got through everything I’d hoped to do today. Although some lessons learned went like this:

Me: Be careful, T! Don’t bang the tip of your bow on the wall!

T: (hopefully) Why? Will it explode?

A half an hour goes awfully fast, though. And my third lesson cancelled at the last minute due to illness at home, so it was a short day. But somehow I never get out of there too quickly. I had to buy a guitar string and ended up helping out someone trying to buy a violin shoulder rest.

I’m feeling much more successful this week at this whole teaching thing. It really would be better if I were doing some more playing. Maybe I should start my own band. I could call it “The Purple Dragons.” But first I need to drum up some more students.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. crankygirl permalink
    January 4, 2010 9:31 pm

    Go Purple Dragon Master!

    I took violin lessons for a few years and no one ever used a mirror to help teach positioning. That sounds really cool AND helpful.

  2. January 4, 2010 10:34 pm

    The mirror is an integral part of my own teaching technique. I tell my students that it will remind them of what I would see and say to them when they’re practising by themselves. Purple Dragons indeed!

  3. January 4, 2010 10:37 pm

    Your band makes me think of Jem and the Holograms.

  4. January 4, 2010 10:45 pm

    Now, was this gentleman walk into the room like he was walking onto a yacht? And was his scarf apricot? Did he have one eye on the mirror? Would you be his partner? Were there clouds in your coffee? CLOUDS IN YOUR COFFEE?

  5. freshhell permalink
    January 5, 2010 8:53 am

    There was no mirror involved in my elementary school violin lessons. Just the painful sound of the bow screeching against the strings.

  6. lemming permalink
    January 5, 2010 9:40 am

    Shall chant “Purple Dragons” today as I tackle the bureaucrats!

  7. January 5, 2010 10:26 am

    My favorite team name recently was the under 6 girls soccer team, The Kicking Daisies. My niece also played for the Lady Lizards.

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