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This post has been removed for repairs

December 9, 2010

Driving by a park where I like to walk today, I noticed a new sign at the entrance. I stopped to read it. Is said: This sign has been removed for repairs.

Really? Huh. I wonder what I was reading.

* * * *

My brain is tired. I’ve spent much of the last two days in a flurry of emails trying to organize rehearsals for my students and other people’s students for the upcoming Studio 2 Christmas recital. I was totally expecting a disaster of monumental proportions last night — not one student was coming at her regular time — but amazingly everyone showed up when they were supposed to. I taught one new student this afternoon — a 7-year-old who through some weird chain of events has had 3 teachers in a year. He hid behind his mother at first, but by the end was telling me all about his snowboarding prowess, how he felt about his brother, and what all his favorite songs were, which I think means he had fun. His vocabulary reminds me of AJ at that age, a funny mix of big words and age-appropriate speech patterns. That was fun for me too.

I coached my two middle schoolers in a trio with a tiny and very serious pianist I’d guess she’s about 8. Her feet didn’t touch the floor when she sat on the piano bench. She was charming and worked really hard, but kept leaving out some notes, all of which were carefully circled in dark pencil. “Did you circle these because you sometimes forget them?” I asked her. “Yes, and I just don’t know what to do about it!” she said, looking exasperated with herself. We slowed down and all four of us counted out the beats of each bar. One of the real challenges of putting together ensembles of beginners is that their rhythm is often not great — they have to stop and figure out fingerings — and they don’t know how to stay together. We had a lot of catastrophes, but we were having fun and they mostly made us laugh hard.

My seven-year-old came in grumpy because she hadn’t been able to find her music and couldn’t practice the part she found hard. But she had a good lesson despite herself, although she moaned loudly and dramatically complained of total exhaustion when she had to play a part that she didn’t know as well as she wanted to. My advanced student came in all pumped from her rehearsal with the band she’s playing in for the recital. All in all a good day.

Somewhere in the afternoon, I picked up AJ from school and took him out for frozen yogurt to celebrate the successful completion of his demonstration speech. Each child had to give a 10 minute speech about a book they’d read that told them how to make or do something and show how to do that thing. It was a great project to get kids talking, because the demonstration portion gave them something to do to keep them from being too nervous. The teacher gave really clear directions about what she thought was important so they knew exactly what to do — she handed out the grading rubric ahead of time. It gave AJ confidence that he was doing the right thing. The teacher set them up to succeed. I like that.

Today has been all about dealing with administrative detail. The tracking down of Christmas lights for the tree and making decisions about gifts. Paying bills, making deposits. Sending out emails with the elaborate rehearsal schedules simplified for each student. Fielding phone calls from relatives wondering what AJ wants for Christmas. Updating my application calendar. I’m hoping I’ll squeeze some actual writing in there at some point, but that remains to be seen.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. freshhell permalink
    December 9, 2010 3:22 pm

    Wow. Someone actually put up a sign that said the other sign was removed for repairs? If I’d had a sharpie on me, I probably would have been tempted to write something snarky on it. Because I’m mature.

    I like hearing about your music students. Red told me last night that music was her favorite class and she wished she had music on Wednesdays. When I told her she had music on Thursdays, which was tomorrow (now today), she lit up like I’d given her a present.

  2. December 10, 2010 11:12 am

    Ha! Love the title of this post, and the sign that inspired it. Now I’m thinking of Magritte’s painting of a pipe that says “this is not a pipe.”

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