This is normal teenage behavior. But I cannot stop laughing now!
This forum is becoming depressing - post happy stories about teaching
Posted 22 November 2019 - 11:01
I'm sure it'll be an enjoyable occasion, Aquarelle! Can't wait to read your post-match report. We need more concerts with a 'bring your own picnic' element here, I think.
Posted 01 December 2019 - 11:34
Suggesting to one football mad pupil that she starts a school women's football team (the PE staff are going to kill me!)
Posted 02 December 2019 - 21:04
Well, yes, it was fun. A kindly grandfather picked me up at a pre-arranged point because the school is buried in the Basque country foot hills and hard to find. When we arrived we were joined by the rest of the family – grandmother, mum, seven children of whom I teach four. Father couldn’t come as he has been posted to Mali and left Friday. There were quite a few families I knew and lots of children came to greet me. The Fanfare (French equivalent of a small brass band) began to play some Basque folk tunes. Three of my pupils were in that – a flautist and two boys who do piano with me and trumpet and trombone at a municipal music school. The Fanfare played us into the building which I assume was the school refectory. The family who had invited me to share their picnic settled themselves near the stage – lots of long tables and families and friends grouped together. We stood to sing grace and then tucked in and the school boys served all the adults with a glass of mulled wine. The boys were in uniform – it’s very unusual here. The girls were not – it is a boys only school and the girls were all sisters who are at other schools. They were all typically rather dowdily dressed - longish dresses or skirts, high necklines etc. I think that is in the name of “modesty”. But they seemed lively enough and were obviously enjoying themselves.
The Fanfare played a bit more and then there was no more music until the end of the meal. There were 25 items and my pupils played in 11 of them. The young musicians played mostly in pairs or small groups. There were flutes, clarinets, a guitar, a little ‘cellist, pianists and singers. Some of the parents also took part. The music ranged from medieval to ragtime. The atmosphere was relaxed, the players confidently enjoying themselves. My piano and trumpet duo had a restart and the pianist pulled a face and grinned across at me! The mother and daughter items were beautifully played – very simple but very well done. A pianist whom I have had for – ten or twelve years – can’t remember - and who is now in what will be her last year with me - played “Booty Swing” by Parov Stelar – I had never heard of the piece or the composer but it was a fun piece of jazz which brought the house down. I was so pleased to see her taking to her musical wings and playing something I had not taught her! When they get to that stage you know you have done your job. She also sang the cat duet from – I can’t remember which opera – with a friend and I do not know how they kept straight faces ! A father made a valiant effort at a Chopin waltz on the rather grim Yamaha bottom of the range piano with no pedal! It turned out that the little ‘cellist was his daughter who is friends with my little piano pupil who had accompanied her flautist mother. They asked me to find some music easy enough for the two little girls to play together. (I hope the Party Time Series has a ‘cello version and would be glad of any suggestions - piano part Grade one-ish.)
One of the nicest moments was not musical at all. It was after the concert when I came across the boy who had thrown in the sponge when asked to accompany a clarinettist but had then found an easier piece for them both to play. He is sixteen and was carrying in his arms his little four week old sister. He brought her to show me! This is a family whose father was on the same mission in Mali last week when thirteen French soldiers were killed in a helicopter accident. They went through a very nasty moment, not knowing if they had lost their father until they got the “he is safe” telephone call. He lost eight of his personal friends and companions in arms.
I got home late afternoon . I am having a very, very busy time at the moment and in a way I couldn’t really afford an afternoon out but I am so glad I went. It was great to be at a concert I didn’t have to organise and to see my pupils taking part in something so worthwhile. It seems there will be a repeat performance next year.
Posted 02 December 2019 - 22:15
How lovely! Thank you Aquarelle for the delightful account of your afternoon.
Posted 02 December 2019 - 22:32
Sounds delightful. We should proprose St Cecelia's day concerts to be compulsory in every school here. My boys' primary school used to do a lovely concert in which every single child who played an instrument was given a spot. You only got invited to watch if you had a child in the concert so it felt very special the first time I went. By the time the Boy was there the concerts had been abandoned, as had most music making and nearly all instrumental lessons. But they get slightly better SATs results now so that was obviously a good decision... not. I preferred it in the old days.
Posted 03 December 2019 - 10:49
Thanks for sharing, Aquarelle. I'm often surprised by how much I enjoy most of our local schools' instrumental recitals, at which a couple of my piano students might be playing. It's wonderful to watch all the other young performers, the violinists, guitarists, clarinettists etc and of course other piano students. As you say, it's so relaxing to watch a concert in which you've had minimum input.
Very sad about the helicopter accident, of course.
The famous Cats Duet isn't from an opera, and in fact is now agreed not even to be authentic Rossini but a pastiche by an unknown composer.
Posted 03 December 2019 - 11:34
Thanks for the kind comments. Yes - wouldn't it be great if all schools had a Saint Cecelia's day concert - or similar. Thanks for that info HelenVJ. I didn't know that.
Well, Saint Cecelia done and packed off for another year it's now into Christmas. I've just been informed that not only are we doing the primary school Celebration which we repeat after Christmas at the retirement home but there is also to be a Celebration at church with the college and lycée. We have a new director at the lycéee – sort of super head of the three establishments and he is keen to bring back the tradition of a Celebration at church with all three parts of the educational group involved. Apparently my primary school children are to sing “Douce Nuit” as the closing (and I think only, ) music and I have been asked to be at church tomorrow afternoon to sort details of placings etc. This is going to be interesting. He has also warned me that we might be called upon at Easter. Nothing like looking ahead!
Posted 10 December 2019 - 21:49
Another nice little story. We had our presentation of exam certificates tea party on Saturday. I was very late with it this year as I had to wait for a damaged certificate to be replaced and by the time I got it I was up to my eyes in domestic problems and couldn’t find a free Saturday. However no one seemed to mind. All 14 candidates came and brought along parents and siblings. 10 of the 14 had volunteered to play in a mini-concert. It was very informal – no programme – just the names on the back of some post its and each player took one and called out the next performer. The flautist mother and her little daughter who played at the St Cecelia concert repeated those same pieces. My Grade 1 treble recorder player played Tchaikovsky’s “Legend” and got a really nice tone. Others played fun pieces and pieces they had learnt during the summer holiday.
As their first encounter with Chopin my pupils often learn the fairly easy posthumous A minor Waltz. One of my older girls had wanted to play this at the summer concert but it wasn’t really ready so I promised her she could play it on this occasion. It was worth waiting for. When everyone had left the flautist mother popped back in to ask the name of the first girl to play.” I explained who she was and the mother said “What musical sensitivity – she really moved me.” That remark made my day! I have been working hard with L who has been a pupil who for several years was greatly lacking in confidence and has only recently come to believe in her own musical ability. It’s been like seeing the sun finally come out from behind a cloud.
This group of candidates did particularly well so I spent a little more on their presents than I usually do. I gave some of the boys socks with musical notes on them. This evening I asked G if I had bought the right size. (Never having been a mother I don’t know anything about that sort of thing!) He pulled up a trouser leg, grinned widely and said “Impeccable!”
I am now waiting to see if the older boys turn up wearing their musical ties!
Posted 10 December 2019 - 22:50
Posted 11 December 2019 - 08:12
Aquarelle your posts always make me laugh! Sounds like you had a good time.
Posted 20 December 2019 - 15:59
I have had a good week with students and I haven't taught a student. Two of my students got distinction in their Grade 8 sax this term. One of the girls did disastrously in her A levels last year and is re taking this year. She passed her Grade 8 clarinet last year and through some very atrocious teaching, flunked her music A level last year. She has returned to school to re-sit and life has been quite hard for her. I haven't seen her smile much at all recently. She did Trinity for her sax exam and the result came through within an hour of her exam (exams were at my house). She was still out shopping with her mum and she picked up a bottle of wine and popped in to see me on the way back to give me the bottle. She just looked so happy. She has an application in to study music and I think as she is having to resit her exams, she is a little apprehensive about getting offers- and I think the result just made her feel "Yes- things can go my way".
The other Grade 8 distinction was to a girl in year 13, too who has a merit in her grade 8 clarinet and ARSM clarinet. She too is applying for joint honours degrees that include music. Getting the distinction is just icing on the cake - and helps her confidence. I love seeing success in music help students increase in confidence when all is up in the air.
The other student that made me really happy this term is a student who just got a merit in her Grade 6. I have been teaching her since she was six and the years from age 10-13 were not the easiest. She was not happy at school and didn't practice. She always loved her lessons but progress was very slow. She has changed school and got a music scholarship at her tiny, tiny school. She now is happy, stands up straight (she is 6' 1") and loves music. And she practices! And people in her school now think it is cool to play an instrument. It is not the exam result that matters, it is the fact that she now loves music.
It is good to be reminded not to give up on students and they can change! What I love about my teaching is that you can teach students for years, and go through a lot of changes with them and it is such a delight when music goes up the list of priorities!
Posted 20 December 2019 - 17:14
Taught my first flute lesson since relocating in April.
Glad to report the ol' Bag Magic is very much still there and the pupil was a total delight on every level.
Baglinsky, Queen of Everything.....