The things students do

The past four weeks have been quite difficult for me. I had to take a significant amount of time away from my day job as a middle school music teacher to care for my father. I’m sure I’ll have more to say about that as I continue to cope with losing him. However with all that has happened, my students remind me (yet again) why I am a teacher, by creating this message for me.

They did manage to include music we have been studying and a song I made them research earlier in the school year. Great way of connecting our curriculum. Nice job Soundview Class of 2017.

Coping with first day of 1st grade

000255x_rain_on_pavementMy breathing becomes labored, I don’t know what to do with my hands. By the time I get to my car, I’ve got several tears rolling down my face. Luckily it’s raining…so if anyone saw me they might think it was just the rain. It’s 9:30 in the morning on the first day of first grade for my kid and I can’t deal. The car do closes and I can’t hold my tears any more…

A few simple words sent me into this state. First I apologized to my kid for forgetting to give her, her medication. Then she said “It’s okay daddy, things happen. This will help me with my day, I’m really nervous”.  We talked some more and by the end of the conversation she gave me a hug and a kiss, then went back to her new classroom and I walked back to my car.

img_1024The image of her walking towards her classroom stayed with me the rest of the day. If I had this moment back, I might have ask her for one more hug.

Planets from my house part 6

My night started off with thoughts of jazz and beer. Brother Thelonious is great for both.

IMG_3850

Eventually I stayed up long enough to keep up with my latest hobby… Looking up. My kid calls Jupiter “daddy’s planet”, which lets me know the level of my geek is strong.

This may potentially be the last time I post about which planets I can see from my house. In general I feel the pictures I take with my iPhone does no justice to how cool I think this event is. The idea that I get to watch this pattern unfold before my very eyes is simply awesome. I think I’ll start saving up for a telescope. Perhaps my kid and I will enjoy looking up.Planets from my house part 6

BuzzFeed Made Me Cry

Generally I go to BuzzFeed to laugh at something or checkout something related to music. Then they hit me with  a video about kids of asian parents thanking them for the sacrifices they made for them. I couldn’t help but to think of my parents and grandparents.

The bit about students loans hit me the hardest. My mom and dad said the same thing to me.

Grillin’

Recently my wife and daughter gave me permission to buy a grill. So I did my research and fell into the rabbit hole between two school of thought. Propane or Charcoal! I wasn’t sure, but when I considered the cost and flavor factors. I ended up going with charcoal.

The thing that was most interesting about the process was getting to know some websites about grills and cooking. BBQ Guys and America’s Test Kitchen led me to the grill I have today. (The Weber Performer Deluxe)

imagebywidth

They were super informative and entertaining. The BBQ Guys videos are hosted byChef Tony Matassa. Although corny, I enjoyed the signature line that end all their videos. Check them our and you’ll see what I mean.

images

Christopher Kimball is the host of America’s Test Kitchen and just seems delighted to let other chef cook, test equipment and explain process. The way he facilitates conversation is just plain-old fun to watch.imgres

Both host seem extremely knowledgeable. I happen to be a big fan of listening to folks that know of which they speak and are passionate when doing so.

The Mouthpiece Question

I know what your thinking, yet another trumpeter writing about the importance of mouthpiece selection and striking the perfect balance between back-bore and throat size. I happen to follow all those trends religiously but this isn’t another one of those rants. Coincidentally, I currently play a Laskey 75C with a standard throat and back-bore, not that it matters. The question about mouthpieces comes up for me at least twice a year. I’ve noticed this pattern over the past 5 or 6 years.DV016_Jpg_Large_471542.908_75MD

The question comes up because I want to improve my performance on the trumpet. Which usually leads me to examine my approach to the instrument and the art of creating music. In reality it’s a small question that leads to bigger thoughts. The progression of questions might start off like this:

 Should I play a 22 throat with a symphonic back-bore like I did for 12 years or stay with what I have currently?

  Am I producing the sound I want the audience to hear?

  Am I performing music as the composer’s intended and am I being true to the style of music I am performing?

  Am I growing as an artist and educator of music?

•  Can I continue to perform music and have a meaningful family life?

•  Do I make enough money as a musician and educator?

•  Am I doing everything I can to provide for my kid?

•  Should I finish this bottle of wine or just go to bed?

IMG_3313

4-up on 12-11-14 at 5.30 PM #9 (compiled)This is jus a small sampling of the rabbit hole I fall into late at night/early morning. It starts off with the idea of playing a different mouthpiece and whether it’s the “Right Move”. Then there are the other question… Can I afford it financially….Can I afford not to make a change?

Too many questions … Maybe I’ll open up the back-bore next month.

Old Things

Recently I took my computer to a repair shop where I was told that there wasn’t much that could be done to salvage the machine. Normally this wouldn’t bug me, except I realized it was the computer hard-drive that had all the family photos and videos. I have most of this stuff backed up on an external device, however that machine was a big part of how we shared our new family member with the rest of the world.

My kid and I watched out first cartoons on that computer. My wife and I ordered our kids birthday presents and planned parties with that machine. We skyped and facetimed with my parents and my kid met cousins for the first time. My wife created fantastic picture book with photos of our adventure with our kid. The list goes on…

Like most things you grow out of, you move on to the next thing and keep the parts that represent good memories.

MacBook_Pro