Saturday, April 10, 2010

Random Saturday

We all know this could turn into a less-than-random post, but at the moment, my face is in danger of sliding off my skull from the weight of the snot contained in my sinuses. I believe some brain juice is leaking out, too, in order to make room for pollen, so I'm not sure where this will end up.

Random the first: and an excellent one it is. My very, very very, sick friend went home today. HOME. This is the friend the doctors were saying might be out of ICU by June or so. She is home. There's still plenty of physical and emotional healing to be done, but I consider this to be a miraculous situation. And I don't toss the word "miracle" around lightly.

Random the second: little dude of the elephant hat continues to wear it daily. He likes to raise the trunk and make elephant noises, too.

Random the third: I've become a rather monogamous knitter, which is strange. I am both soothed and bored by my current project (the Estonian Garden Wrap by Evelyn Clark), and I think I'm afraid if I put it down for something else, I'll never pick it up again. I'm just over halfway through the main center section; it's 41 repeats of a six-row eyelet pattern, and I just finished #22. I am fantasizing about making it j-u-u-u-s-t a little shorter. I haven't forgotten about your responses to my musings regarding being one of the Kool Kids of the fiber world either. I'm getting there.

Random the fourth: I have a student teacher working with me right now, and she's a good one. No experience with general music , as she was in the instrumental track in college (never mind that our certification is Music K-12, period...colleges do not seem to have grokked that YET, but that's a rant for another day), but she's got some really good teaching skills going for her. This frees us up to focus on the how-to's of constructing general music lessons, which are very similar and very different at the same time when compared to band rehearsals. She's caught on fast, especially in the, "do it the way Barb is doing it" department. This is particularly helpful in classroom management. I'm quite sure many of my student teachers have started out thinking that I'm too harsh, and that they won't have to be so mean to get the same results. This usually lasts for about a week until I sit back and don't intervene on minor-to-moderate issues. Suddenly, being "mean" isn't so "mean" after all.

Anyway, we sing a lot in general music, and while she isn't shy about it, it's still a little intimidating at first. Having some kind of instrument between you and the kids is helpful, plus it helps you stay on pitch for the whole song. Well, she doesn't play guitar (which is what I mostly use), and neither of us wanted to drag out the piano. I thought about re-tuning a guitar to an open chord, or teaching her two chords on the guitar, and those options didn't sound good either. So I threw a mountain dulcimer at her, showed her two chords (much simpler than guitar chords), and sent her home.

Oh, did I mention her college supervisor was coming the next day, and she would be singing this new two-chord song with the kindergarteners for the first time ever?

Well, she went home And. Did. It. Took an instrument she'd never played, worked out the song (which inserts the kids' names into it, no less), and was ready to go the next day. No bitching, no hesitation, no resistance to trying because she was being observed the next day and didn't want to screw up. And the cherry on top is that when she taught the lesson with the dulcimer on her lap, she sang more confidently and was obviously having FUN. Bingo.

It's not about the dulcimer (though it's super-cool and she's asked if she can borrow it for a while...well, DUH, that's another part of my plan for world domination). It's that she wasn't thrown for a minute, or if she was, she didn't show it. She simply stepped up to the plate and swung. She's going to be fine. If she gets a job in general music, she's going to need some curriculum support, but really? She's going to be fine.

Random the fifth: this has inspired my dulcimer-playing again as well, which is also super-cool. I have two mountain dulcimers, lent one to my student teacher, and started playing the other again myself. Set up the hammered beast, too, and the tunes are coming together fairly easily. That's a good sign that there's room in my brain, pollen notwithstanding. Clicking on the link above takes you to the website of the luthier who made the dulcimer I'm using right now. Mine doesn't look exactly like the one on the page, but it sure is pretty.

Random the sixth: regarding the college supervisor. I am 5' 1 1/2" on a good day when I stand up very straight and the humidity is high. Dr. Supervisor is 6' 8". (Take a moment and get the visual on that.) I may have to be a smartass for his last visit and borrow a chair from the kindergarten, instead of having my adjustable desk chair in place for him. If he's going to work with me in the future with other student teachers (this is the first time we've worked together), he might as well know what he's getting himself into.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gosh, those are purty dulcimers! Right after the New Year I got a Yocky to go along with my old Warren May. It's the best of all worlds -- I have one sweet and gentle dulci with a traditional fretboard and one raucous beast with the 6+.

A whole new understanding of music is opening to me as I learn this instrument, and I really thank you for your help and encouragement last year in the knitty pms. :)