Every once in awhile, though, I expose myself to music outside...way outside...my normal everyday experiences. Tonight, I went to a thrash-rock CD release party.
I learned some things about music, believe it or not. Things teachers would NEVER be taught in college or during professional development. I learned some things about life that wouldn't be taught as part of character-ed lessons. So, here's my three biggest observations from attending a thrash-rock show:
- Listen to EVERYTHING. This is THE most important thing I can teach a musician or a music student. My ex-wife used to complain of headaches and car-sickness anytime I played something that she didn't know the words to. John Cage said (I'm paraphasing) that everytime you are given a piece of music to listen to, you're placing limits on what you understand as music. The more variety you hear, the bigger the umbrella of "music" you can appreciate, whether you enjoy it or not.
- "Loud" is not always called "forte". Our musical notation system is complicated. We still use Latin and Italian words for things, notes are placed on staves with heads, stems, and flags/bars, and instruments can be based around different keys. Just because music isn't written down, doesn't mean it isn't music. I take a step back occasionally, and force my violin, viola, and cello students to improvise. The National Music Standards may then advise me to have them try to notate it, but it doesn't always need to me. Some bands (like the 3 I heard tonight) have everything memorized, with only a set-list taped to the floor to remind them the order they want to play the songs in. When's the last time you memorized an entire concert?
- Don't assume ANYTHING based on the music someone likes. Yeah. I went to a thrash-metal-punk show, and enjoyed myself. I almost bought a copy of the cd they were releasing. You only need to go as far as my iPod to know that I'm not all Bach and Beethoven. You'd also never think of me as a music teacher if you caught me at a punk show like this, right? You know what happens when you assume, right?...
Finally...(yeah, this is number 4), it's amazing what a little networking will get you. The drummer of the second band I heard, works with me at Weis Markets (which is my 2nd job since teaching doesn't pay enough to survive on a single salary). He was leaving early for the show, and most of the others were attending. They all know I'm a musician/teacher and invited me...just for the heck of it. It was a bonding experience, and I'm actually looking forward to working again next Friday. Hopefully, we'll make the Facebook connections, I'll get some more pictures tagged with me in 'em, and I'll be invited to more musical experiences.
p.s. One of the other cake decorators sang a part of Carmina Burana today, and asked me to write down the title and composer so she could by the CD. (She's a 22 year old, culinary arts student who usually listens to Top 40/Rock)