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Monday, December 14, 2015

Snapshots of the life of a middle school music teacher

Random moments from 12/7-12/14

     Survived a concert I was nervous about. I went to set up, only to learn that our keyboard was broken. Spent 7 hours recording/processing accompaniment tracks. Trusted that the students could do it without hearing the tracks and having me at the piano. They did well and I was proud of them. We did have a fainter but things were okay.

    Yankee Swap with no tears or angry children. (I got a Dunkin' Donuts gift card.)

     I'm singing a song called Songs of the Wayfarer by Joseph M. Martin in chorus with my 7/8th graders. One of my 7th grade boys hung around after an audition toady to tell me that he was researching the song and jamming at his house to  some of the pieces I've introduced him to. Check out the versions he was listening to.
Ed SheeranJohnny CashEmmylou Harris, Jack White and the Swingle Singers 
This also led to a conversation about why the lyrics changed from person to person, history of the song, and his opinions on the versions he heard. Music teacher win :) Which version did you like best?   If I've sparked your inner nerd, check out the history of the song and more versions here. 

        I straightened my hair this morning and wore makeup. 1 boy was confused and seemed to genuinely need an explanation to why I was wearing lipstick. 1 boy thought I was a substitute. Multiple students did not recognize me. A few students came in to tell me that I "look pretty." My favorite awkward moment was where one girl came in and said "Oh my gosh! I love your hair and your face!" Ummm... thanks?  (That's also when the boy realized I wasn't a substitute teacher)

      This week my students took recycled materials and made them into instruments. I have loved watching their creativity. They also composed a piece for their instruments, wrote down the music in non-traditional notation and had to learn someone else's piece. Multiple students have asked me to stay in class "for the rest of the day" or "through lunch."

      Auditions for my Chorale- so cool to hear each kid sing on their own. I'm glad so many kids are coming to try out. One of my 6th graders mentioned that he "doesn't care if he has to crush the heart of a 5th grader, he wants to make spring Chorale." The funny thing is that this boy is a kid who works hard but I couldn't tell if he actually enjoyed being there. I say auditions are cool but it's always hard when the list goes up since not everyone is accepted.

    I have received 3 videos from 2 7th grade girls who are kind of hilarious. The first one was a parody of Adele's "Hello."  The second was a bizarre, rap-like holiday video and the 3rd was a video about "Christmas Crumble."

     Had a kid who is considered to be "one of the worst behaved 5th graders" tell me that he was really excited because he went shopping for his Christmas tree and for presents. He was excited that his mom let him pick out a present for me. :)

     My son came to school with me on a day his school had conferences. He sat in all of my classes, took 3 quizzes, compared and contrasted West African vocal/instrumental music, watched my 8th grade operas and sang in my 6th grade chorus. He's in 4th grade. My kids (the students) were really welcoming and cute. They shared music, chatted, and included him in all the lessons. It was heartwarming.

     After bugging me to play Christmas music during class (in a highly Jewish community), I played a recording of the Christmas concert I played in last weekend. After initially complaining that he wanted to hear some "Bill Cosby.. no, wait, Bill CROSBY" (facepalm) a 6th grade boy said "Wait? Is this live?" Me- "Well, it was taped live, yes." Boy- "Woah.. you guys are like legit musicians! That sounds like what the real song sounds like." Me- "Uh... that's because we ARE all legit musicians."  Glad Tchaikovsky wasn't rolling in his grave though, thanks.

     I seriously wish I could post pictures with their facial expressions too. Good times.




  1. I love it when you get through to kids and you have made a difference in so many lives! :D I wanted to let you know that I received your wonderful letter and the beautiful journal! I will be writing back soon! :D

    1. I'm sorry it took me so long to get it to you! I will look forward to hearing from you :)