Playing a Song to Death

It’s bad enough that they disrupt my classes by not telling me they’re going to pull kids out for music rehearsals for an upcoming event, but the kids at my school have been playing the same eight bars of music on their recorders non-fucking-stop for the past week. Shit, I don’t even play the recorder and I could probably play those eight bars by now! Enough already! It’s Chinese recorder torture.

What’s the tune? I’ve heard recorder solos of Thomas Haynes Bayly’s “Long, Long Ago” a goodly number of times during my stint here.

stephen-foster-songs.de/MP3/amsong30.mp3

What’s the tune? I’ve heard recorder solos of Stephen Foster’s “Long, Long Ago” a goodly number of times during my stint here.[/quote]

I actually don’t know what it is. I’d never heard the tune before they started playing it, though I suspect it’s something cheesy. The other day, just for a change, I heard them playing the theme song from Oklahoma, but that was as I was leaving school. They save the variety for when they know I’m not going to be here, just to fuck with me. Maybe what they’re playing now is also from Oklahoma. It brings back visions of school band, where the most “current” song we played was at least thirty years old. Music teachers often live by the maxim that cheesy is pleasey. You haven’t rocked out until you’ve heard Surfin’ USA played on French horns and clarinets.

That brings back memories. I was in the school band in junior high and for one semester of high school. I give the junior high band director credit, though, for trying to put some relatively recent songs in our repertory, and ones that fit in fairly well with what a school band had to offer (you know, a little Herb Alpert and the like, which was actually moderately cool when I was a pup).

But yeah, maybe school band directors should stick to military marches.

Somehow that reminds me of the anecdote of Tom Wolfe showing up one day in jeans, a jean jacket, and boots when he was riding with and interviewing some Hell’s Angels. One of them said, “Man, we liked you better in your white suit.”

That brings back memories. I was in the school band in junior high and for one year of high school. I give the junior high band director credit, though, for trying to put some relatively recent songs in our repertory, and ones that fit in fairly well with what a school band had to offer (you know, a little Herb Alpert and the like, which was actually moderately cool when I was a pup).

But yeah, maybe school band directors should stick to military marches.

Somehow that reminds me of the anecdote of Tom Wolfe showing up one day in jeans, a jean jacket, and boots when he was riding with and interviewing some Hell’s Angels. One of them said, “Man, we liked you better in your white suit.”[/quote]

Haha. That’s actually true. A kid in Australia once said to me, “Sir, why don’t you try to wear some cool clothes?” I replied, “Because I know I’m not cool and there’s nothing more uncool than a teacher who is uncool but who tries to be cool.” His answer was, “Yeah, you’ve got a point.”

I’d stick with the military marches over the cheesy stuff. Rar-rar is always better than muzak. Everyone loves a parade and all that. When I say band, I don’t even mean like marching band. We didn’t have those. We all sat down at music stands and so on. It was kind of like the orchestra (which I was also in) light, and also minus the string section. The thing is that our school also had a special performance band that performed in public that only had brass, saxophones, electric bass, etc. that played really good jazz and funk. I played oboe. That instrument should never be in anything other than an orchestra playing classical music.

We did the marching stuff during football season, but in the spring we called ourselves a “concert band.” Then we had a stage band that I guess was somewhat like your performance band, except that it had no electric bass and it didn’t play really good jazz and funk. I’m willing to bet, though, that the stage band’s members had completely different ideas from the band director’s ideas of what they ought to have played. In high school our first trumpet moonlighted in a rock band (I think he played guitar, but I’m not sure) and was a master at staying out of trouble about his long hair. I’m sure he would have dug some jazz and funk, and maybe even something wilder. That guy was a natural born musician, very talented. I sometimes wonder what happened to him, music-wise–you know, whether he made a career of it.

Oboe is cool.

I think the performance band was nominally controlled by the Director of Brass, who played in a similar band outside of school (and also an orchestra). He was a fairly cool kind of guy. The concert band, on the other hand, was controlled by the Director of Woodwind. He was an extremely uncool kind of guy and the only outside gig I can ever remember playing was at a luncheon for geriatrics at his Masonic lodge. That’s the whole story about why the concert band sucked right there. Anyway, largely though, I think the performance band was organised and controlled by a couple of students (which seems strange given how authoritarian my school was), one of whom was an excellent drummer. Everyone thought he was going to go on to study music and become a professional musician, but he went to study hotel management in Switzerland, which blew everyone’s minds. After he left though, he passed the torch on and the band continued.

Sounds like good training for life, especially life in an organization. :laughing:

Well that’s what school is all about, broadly speaking: making you realise that for about eight hours a day, and occasionally on weekends, you’ll have to do something that is boring and doesn’t make sense with people you don’t like.