Student and Teacher

I’ve been a student for the past… seventeen years. Wow. And I’ll be a student for two more as I work towards my masters degree. I’ve always felt like teaching would be a way to stay in school, and I suppose it is, but being a student feels much more comfortable than being a teacher. (That could have something to do with being a student for seventeen years and only having been a teacher for three weeks.)

Being a first-year music teacher is frightening, and demanding, and exciting, but one thing that does not surprise me is that it makes me into even more of a student. Not only am I learning about the craft of teaching, but I’m learning more about music. If you want to become master of something, try teaching it. There’s nothing for learning like teaching. For instance, I am much more familiar with Haydn’s Surprise Symphony than before. If you’d like a surprise, just listen. Haydn was tired of people falling asleep during his concerts…

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A Lickety-Split Performance

We interrupt this program for a brief digression into the actual life of the Blogger.

Laura and I sang this song at the Musical Instrument Museum on Saturday. The sound quality isn’t tip-top, but hopefully you get the idea.

That’s a lot of words, ladies and gentlemen.

This is called mouth music, sung in Gaelic, and the sound of the words and the rhythm are more important than the meaning of the words. Makes you want to do a jig, doesn’t it? (That’s because it’s dancing music.)

As long as we’ve digressed into my life, I should tell you that I got the job teaching at Archway Classical Academy, North Phoenix. I am officially an elementary music teacher! I’m absolutely thrilled.

End of update. See you tomorrow for the Tract of Give Us Rest!

My Midsummer Night’s Dream that I will survive today

Today is the day. Today is teaching demonstration day.

It’s a class of 13 students, and I’m nervous about what they do and do not already know. If they’re not familiar enough with solfege, this lesson won’t begin to make sense to them. And I’ll have to adjust, and adjusting on the fly is not one of my strong suits. I’m much better at planning.

The lesson is centered around A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It’s about the way Mendelssohn used minor keys in his incidental music to represent the fairy kingdom, and major music to represent the lovers and the human world. The three main themes in his Overture to A Midsummer Night’s Dream are commonly interpreted as the fairies, the lovers, and Bottom the donkey-headed clown. You can hear the fairies fluttering around in e-minor, the lovers swooning in B Major, and Bottom’s donkey bray.

I have to keep reminding myself that my value as a human being does not rest on my ability to teach. God loves me and will continue to even if I totally botch this. But still, I hope it goes well.

Auditioning to be a Teacher

Well, I’m packing to go to Denver at the last minute. Sicily and I are leaving tomorrow morning at 8:45 to see Janna in Denver!! I’m going to try to find my camera- it will be the first time I’ve used it since high school, essentially. Looking at all the photography on the blogosphere actually makes me miss using it (and makes me want a new and better one).

I had a job interview for a part-time, elementary music job today. I’ve been nervous about it all week, but it must have gone moderately well because they asked me to come back and do a teaching demo. The thought of doing a teaching audition scares me. The interview was scary enough, but now I have to come in and teach with people watching and analyzing me.

Teaching makes me so much more nervous than performing does. As a performer I could memorize and work out all details beforehand, but as a teacher I can do my best to plan and then I have to think on my feet. Also, children rely on teachers to give them the life skills and knowledge they need to live as productive and happy people, which seems a very serious commission to me. With the theme of planning vs. improvisation, I’m not really nervous about crafting a lesson plan. I’m nervous about how to handle the things that just come up in a classroom, especially discipline. But, if God wants me here, I’ll get the job, and if He doesn’t He’ll have something else for me. My responsibility is to do the best I can.

Perhaps I should petition to acquire the disorder strabismus

“A cross-eyed teacher can keep twice the number of children in order than any other, because the pupils do not know who she’s looking at.”  ~Four Hundred Laughs: Or, Fun Without Vulgarity, compiled and edited by John R. Kemble, 1902