We’re continuing to give those poor, sad, lonely, pathetic violas a break this week (although obviously not a very good one). Also, I’d like to give a shout out to fellow conference attendee @iagobrothers, who recognized me in line for the flight simulator and puffed up my ego by referring to me as a “minor Twitter celebrity.” Why, Mr. H, you’re liable to turn my head! </Scarlett O’Hara>
So anyway, two flautists were walkin’ down the street, and one said to the other, “Who was that piccolo I saw you with last night?” To which the other replied, Continue reading
It’s a twofer!
Q. What do you get when you drop a piano down a mine shaft?
Hey guys! I’m at a conference in San Diego this week, so I’m afraid I haven’t really got time to ply you with the usual witty and insightful essay you all know and love (look, just nod and smile). So today and tomorrow I’ll be plying you with jokes that have nothing to do with the viola. Is that a novelty or what? (Thanks to Scott for the submission.)
Q. What’s Beethoven’s favorite fruit?
Today’s Visual Viola Joke is brought to you by this random viola joke web site.
There don’t appear to be any concerts this week (except a couple free ones at Strathmore – check ’em out), so I’m indulging myself in a silly little idea that’s been floating around my brain for awhile.
My server offers some rudimentary analytics; that is to say, statistics on how many people have visited this site per month, the countries they live in, the links they clicked from or to, and, my personal favorite: search terms they used to find the site.
Guys, these can be hilarious.
Some are clearly random and only barely related, and some are related in utterly ridiculous ways. “Alcoholic composers” pops up a lot. “How many violists does it take” has been searched ten times, which begs the question: to do WHAT? “Forest piss” completely baffles me. I mean, I get the relation, but why would you search that? “Beethoven crying” – ahem, but composers do not cry; composers are made of FIRE!
“Saxophone motivational” – what? “Mean Russian” – which one? “Confused about God existence animated” – … was I able to help? “I’m in love with the pianist” – Lucy Van Pelt? Is that you? “Stravinsky hate” – GET OFF OF MY BLOG. “I hate Shostakovich” – SERIOUSLY. I AM CALLING THE INTERNET POLICE RIGHT NOW.
That’s a sampling of some of the fascinating connections you, too, can make, should you decide to start blogging about classical music. In the meantime – how did you find me?
Here’s a question: did the strings secede, or were they forcibly exiled?
I’m talking about the weird divide that exists between string instruments and… well, everybody else, in school systems. The divorce begins early: for some reason, someone decided that kids can start in on the violin in third grade, but they need to wait until fourth if they want to lift anything as hefty as a flute.
That’s assuming you have a strings program at all – I’m fairly certain my mother’s strong protests against such discrimination is one of the only reasons we even had a strings program at my elementary school. I was part of the inaugural class, taught by a band teacher who had been told the summer before, “Hey, you’re teaching strings now too. Here’s a violin. Good luck.”
But this is not a post about strings as second class citizens (although I would like to point out that my freshman orchestra class met in a former janitor’s closet off the cafeteria). This is about the moment the split happened. I don’t know when it was, but I have a theory as to why it was, and that theory is called Marching Band.
Nothing against marching bands! Honest! I’ve never been in one myself, because it’s so hard to attach the wheels to the cello, but I’m sure they’re a tremendous amount of fun. But yeah, you can’t really have a marching orchestra, and I think somebody must have said, “Well, there’s no sense in trying to teach the strings along with the instruments who can actually take the field.”
Oh, occasionally some enterprising pair of band and orchestra teachers will get together and collaborate on a symphonic piece or two. But it’s a rare occurrence, and a token gesture. These music teachers are saying, “We recognize that the symphony orchestra experience is an important one, which is why we’ve decided to toss a couple horns in on this rendition of Borodin’s Steppes of Central Asia. But it’s so hard to get the wheels on the cello, so we’re still keeping our classes mostly separate.”
Maybe your school had a more enlightened approach. Maybe you got to mess around in lots of different ensembles (you lucky jerk). But for a lot of us, band and orchestra scarcely mixed. And I think that’s unfortunate.
How about you? Any opinions on the matter? Music teachers, I’d be especially interested to get your thoughts – is this divide purposeful, or does it exist against your will?
“Please,” said Rebekah, “find some way to put these on your blog.” And you know I would do anything America’s most beloved public figure asks of me.* Prepare for some cognitive dissonance – literally.
* Sorry, Bek; couldn’t find the 20th Century Fox version or I would’ve posted that too.