My kid has anxiety, and I had anxiety as a kid until I started doing music. 4th and 5th Grade I was in Mr. Osborn’s boys choir. I took a few ass kicking those years. In the 6th grade I did my best (with a great deal of success) to not be seen at all. I was robbed a few times that year. During my 7th grade year I was transferred into a class that did music, then I joined the marching band. That’s when things started to change.
Most people who we recognize as important, carve their own path. Me, well… I’m just lucky the path set before me was the right path for me. If not for one thing in my life, I would be a totally different person. What is that thing you ask? Fear…yes fear has shaped me and molded me into the man you see today.
I’m not going to advocate living your life full of fear and hesitation, however my case it worked for me. Fear and safe places to practice being a person. Where ever I played music felt like a safe place.
My 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.
The 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.
It’s the middle of summer, my kid is watching cartoons while I look at my units of study for the up coming school year. Since I am a middle school band director, I tend to worry about how effectively I am helping students learn specific skills on their instruments and the other parts of music, like music theory and music history. Never mind connecting them to other subjects studies at out school and finding ways to stay in touch with anything current and relevant to middle school kids, while thinking about making global connections to all we do.
Just for fun (or because I’m a glutton for punishment) we will be tackling intro to music theory, the Romantic era of music history, beginning conducting and beginning composition.
And yes, this will be the work 6th, 7th and 8th graders will explore with me. Should be a fun school year, so why am I worried about it in July?
Sometimes when you’re looking for something to eat, you just need to take a chance and try something new. Recently my wife and I found ourselves with an opportunity to enjoy each others company for a meal without our kid. Unlike most nights out for a meal in which we deliberate where we should go, we made a snap decision and chose to try a new place. We had driven by this place about a 100 times but only recently noticed the sign.
Since I’m not a food critic and don’t want to bother with the play by play with of our meal, I’ll just say that sometimes it’s good to notice something new. At least new to me and it was good.
The idea of a spirit animal is a cool concept. If you look online you might find a test that might match you with a creature which may best represent you. However, the topic at the moment is Sia and how my daughter has committed every song in her catalog to memory. I can’t explain why she like her music so much, but I appreciate her good taste. When ever I find an acoustic version of one of her songs I try to share it with my kid. And she loves every version my wife and I find for her.
Sometime I listen to a podcast called Snap Judgement hosted by Glynn Washington on NPR. The show melds fascinating stories with a hip-hop backdrop.
Last week I listened to a story by Joyce Lee called “Dropping The Ball” about her experience with a former student. It gave me pause and reminded me of why I teach, why it’s important for me to be a good father. And most of all, why it’s important to listen.
Having a few opportunities to sit and think while waiting for my kids appointment to end, I have become accustom to letting my mind wonder about all sorts of thing. There is always something that needs to be done, like grading papers, lesson plans, practice mouthpiece buzzing, stick in a practice mute and pray it’s not a distraction for my kid. Sometimes it’s even simply lining up the next appointment or any number of parent related tasks.
Lately, I’ve taken to learning some new skills from several tutorials. A few I’ve downloaded on my laptop and some show up on Youtube. In any case I can’t figure out how many different ways to occupy my brain during these times. Games, podcasts, work related stuff, call my mom and dad…the list goes on. Either way I am frustrated and am now choosing to blog about a feeling I can’t put into words.
For now I’ll just look into the bell of my trumpet and wonder about what’s coming out of it. Conicidently, my latest practice routine has me working through:
Irons 27 Groups of Exercises
The Gekker Articulation Studies
Vincent Chicowitz Flow Studies
Pick one group from the Irons then a set from the Gekker. Followed by one of the flow studies and etudes tongued and slurred, and finally closing the session with a Verzari exercise. The routine can take from 15-40 minutes, depending on how much time you have in a waiting room.