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My Best Gig So Far

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by mycranium, Jun 18, 2003.

  1. This is almost off-topic, but it relates to music so I'm posting it here.

    A friend of mine teaches 2nd and 3rd grade at a small elementary school. A couple weeks ago she told me that the woman who taught music once a week (who also taught kindergarten)won't be continuing with that because she'll be teaching 5th grade and wouldn't have the time. My friend asked if I'd be interested in talking to the school about taking over.

    I called the school that very day and set up an appointment to meet with them on the next schoolday. The interview went very well, so I offered to come out and do a short performance/Q&A with my friend's class to demonstrate to the administrators that I can actually play and to see what it would be like to hold the attention of a group of 9 year olds. It turns out that there were other people who had called about the position, but I was the only one who took the initiative to set up a meeting and exhibited some excitement about the job, so I was already ahead of the pack before I even met them.

    Today I went out there and played a couple Bach pieces on cello and a couple of basslines from my band's songs on bass guitar for the kids, then I talked a little about the difference between acoustic and electric instruments etc. After that I opened it up for questions.

    I always forget how smart kids are when I'm not around them. They asked all sorts of questions, among the most memorable were "Who in your life was the most supportive to your music career?" (that's almost verbatim by the way, asked by a 9 year old girl I later found out has written 7 songs), "What should we do if we want to start being musicians?" and one kid observed "When you played the bass part slower I could feel the vibration in my body but not when you played it faster even though the notes were the same."

    I didn't tell them I was auditioning for a job, but at the end of the time one girl said "Miss Kettis isn't going to teach music next year, maybe you could be our new music teacher" then a little boy said "Maybe you could fall in love with Miss Kettis." :smug:

    Several of the people mntioned that they're really happy about the prospect of having a male teacher. The only other man that works there is the janitor and they're feeling a little unbalanced.

    All in all it was the most fun I've had playing music in a while, even if it had just been a one-time deal. The icing on the cake was when the principal complimented me on how well I interacted with the kids and then offered me the job. So starting in September I'll be spending my Friday afternoons getting kids interested in & excited about music. Oh, and the pay they offered is about 20% more than I would have asked for if they had asked me for a figure. :hyper: I also won't have to lose any hours in my freelance work because I can easily get that work done during the rest of the week.

    A long time ago I had the desire to be a music teacher, then I drifted away from it. I'm overjoyed that my life has come back around to where I have the opportunity to do it. If it hadn't been for my recent involvement with playing bass, I don't think I would have been musically extroverted enough for my friend to think of me when this opening happened or to have taken full advantage of it if she had.

    Anyway, I realize this is a bit long-winded but I just felt the need to tell the story.

    -Mike (not Money)
  2. WildBill


    Jul 7, 2002
    Thats awesome! Thats what Im shooting to be (a music teacher) I've always wanted to teach children and I have a couple years of cello under my belt too. Im just trying to figure out what college I should go to to start a career as a music teacher either privatly or in a school or both. Good luck.:hyper: :D
  3. Thanks WildBill!

    You didn't ask for advice but I've got some for you anyway....

    Don't just settle on a school with a good reputation - you should actually go meet the person(s) who teach the instrument you will be playing as your primary one and if possible get a lesson from them. When I went to college I picked a school that had a highly regarded music department, but the cello teacher turned out to be a bitter, burned-out drunk who nearly killed my interest in music. The old-boy network of entrenched, tenured faculty was no help at all. (The teacher in question was later forced to take a year sabbatical to clean up his act after he allegedly drugged and molested a student. So it wasn't just me being thin-skinned, the guy was a genuine leather donut.)

    Remember, you're going to be paying for your education (even if you get grants and scholarships consider that it's you who's paying) so it's your responsibility to get the education you want. I wish I had understood that at the time. Good luck with that!


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