Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Conversations from the Studio

November 15, 2010

Setting: Horn Student T who is in 5th grade and myself, the horn teacher.  T is very smart and quick to learn, but sometimes is challenging to keep on task. 

T: So how long have you played the french horn?

Me: I started playing horn in 6th grade.

T: How long is that?

Me: Let's see. I guess you turn 12 in 6th grade, right?

T: A-huh

Me: So.......I've been playing the horn for 30 years.

T: You're 42!?

Me: Yes, I am.  Wow, 30 years is a long time isn't it?  I hadn't thought of it that way until you asked.  I guess I've been playing for a very long time.

Me: Now let's get back to work.

Kids are often curious about the things which might be "taboo" to talk about.  Reminds me of when I was student teaching.  We always went by our last names and it seemed to be the kids' personal challenge to discover what your first name was.  So much time was spent before or after class shooting down the clever inquiries.

As long as it's said with respect, my students can call me by first name, last name, title, or any combination.  Names don't matter so much.  Knowing how old I am doesn't matter so much.  Developing an open relationship in which kids know that their questions will be answered directly and that it's ok to ask them certainly does matter.

Next time, the question from T may be about how the horn works a certain way, or why f# always has to come first in the key signature, or any number of questions.  Curiosity is important when studying music.  Now if only T would practice more at home, his parents and I would each be very excited.  ;-)


  1. Reminds me of my teaching days. My eighth graders knew my first name, and my approxinate age, thanks to the fact that my son went to school there! When his class finally reached me, my son worried about what to call me in class. I reminded him that everyone knew I was his mother, so "Mom" would be fine. By the end of the year, all his classmates were calling me that, too!! It was fun...

  2. Good luck with T learning the value of practice. During ten years of piano lessons, I never did. My Dad even followed through on his threat of waking me when he got up for work to finish practicing if I didn't. Well, I didn't and he did.

    It's really scary to be nine in a cold and dark house playing the piano while your Dad is eating breakfast in the next room. I'm sure no one in the house appreciated it! You better believe I skedaddled back upstairs as soon as I heard his car leave. LOL

  3. Ah, kids! What I love most about them is their lack of filters. Refreshing. Our choices would be much easier if POLITICIANS would lose their filters.