I had Mr. Wong for third and fourth grade art. I loved his class; he gave us all sorts of fun assignments and on one memorable occasion a party with soda (I don’t remember why we had the party, but I remember we had soda).
I’m not entirely sure the why of this — I think it was that time we made a self-portrait trading card type thing, and we were making “stats” for the back — but at one point our art assignment was accompanied by a survey of sorts, asking for items like favorite color, favorite food, etc.
One of the categories was “favorite musician or band.” Third grade me labored over this one a bit, decided to take some creative license, and wrote down “Tchaikovsky.” Musician, band, composer — practically reads like a thesaurus, no?
All the kids in the class went up one at a time to read our answers (a popular trope, the getting up and reading in front of the class; I think now this is less about education and more about teachers killing time). When I got to Tchaikovsky, Mr. Wong didn’t challenge me. He just raised his eyebrows and said, “Interesting.”
Maybe he was a Tchaikovsky snob? Maybe he was surprised that a third grader could spell “Tchaikovsky”? But I ponder now not his reaction but my answer to his question. It seems that in third grade, I thought Tchaikovsky was the bee’s knees.
And I still think Tchaikovsky is the bee’s knees, just not the queen bee. For awhile there I was desperately, hopelessly in love with Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden” string quartet. Now I think the adagio cantabile from Beethoven’s Pathetique piano sonata might be my favorite. For now.
My point is: tastes change. Obviously. Now cast your mind back to third grade you. Who was your favorite?
For me, my favorite has never been a singled-out favorite of all-time, but I’d say it’s a huge toss-up between 4 absolute giants:
Liszt, Tchaikovsky, Beethoven and Bach. Mozart is very close behind these guys.
Scott Joplin. Still at least one bee knee if not both. 🙂