Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thursday Night: Music Appriciation

This class is an hour earlier than the others and at a campus in an area I'm not incredibly familiar with. Given the 6 o'clock start time and this being Houston, I leave my house at about 5:15 for a destination that Google Maps tells me is only 20 minutes away. Hey, in this town, you account for traffic at all times.

I got there at about 5:35. Found my building, and found my classroom but didn't go inside. I heard a loud voice from inside the room, but figured it was someone from the previous class. There's no way a professor is THAT early. I went and bought a soda and returned to the classroom. Sure enough, there was my teacher and one other student.

This guy is probably around 50 or 55 and a rather large human being. Super nice though, he greeted me and gave me a syllabus on my way to my usual seat. Second row, against the wall. "You have an assignment on the board here, please answer these questions." He points to the other guy in class who is sitting on the other side of the room. "And NO cheating!"

Har har, he's here all night, folks!

The assignment was as follows:

Write down the following:
What you do in the world? (job, otherwise)
Course of study?
Musical ability, if any
What type of music you enjoy
Why are you taking music appriciation

I was expecting that in my English class. Even as a warm up writing exercise or something, but not in here. I guess this furthers my thought that I really have no idea of what to expect in this class.

I wrote down my answers and waited for the class to come in. There are nine of us. NINE. I hope this class isn't cancelled next week. I believe we need twelve to have a class. So behind me are three kids, fresh out of high school two guys and a girl. Behind them is another guy who is friends with the first three. Other side is the guy  who beat me to class, a Hispanic guy, probably the only other guy older than me in the class and an Asian kid  in the back row. Including me that's eight. Someone didn't show up. I have the feeling this class is going to be cancelled.

The teacher introduces himself. He's from Georgia, has a masters in music education. He has taught high school choirs, middle school choirs, back to high school, but currently teaches music class in elementary school. He sings in local choruses and at the opera. He also plays piano, trombone, guitar, string bass and tuba. Ok, so I guess he's legit.

We go around and share our answers to the assignment on the board. The kid behind me says he's a rapper. HA! Ok, Slim Shady, just because you have a rhyming dictionary and a sense of rhythm, doesn't make you a rapper. You're a snotty little white kid who grew up in a well off planned community. Get over yourself!

Going around the room the Asian kid says that he's a rapper too and that he's the founder of his own label! What the hell? Neither one of them accepted the teachers request to rap for us. I won't believe their rapping ability until I see it. Er... hear it.

All of the four kids behind me have "attempted" to play an instrument and gave up after a very short period of time. Wow, good for you guys! All of those "damn kids" I was worried about having class with all turned out to be in one class. This could be interesting to say the least.

The guy who beat me to class is a vet as well. He was injured in Iraq and was medically discharged. Now he's a CO at one of the prisons in Huntsville which isn't too far away. Hats off to you, sir. Not a job I could do.

We had a break before we went over the syllabus and I got to talking to the teacher. Turns out he knows all of the band directors I had in high school. In fact, one of them did his taxes last year and they're pretty good buddies. Weird.

It seems that this class is more involved than I thought it would be. I have music that I have to listen to every week and write down my thoughts. Then take notes while we talk about it in class, then write a final entry about what my thoughts were on it. I have two of these a week. PLUS I have to attend two concerts. The Rush concert I hope to go to in December doesn't count. Dammit.

I was a bit worried coming into this class. I was worried I was going to have some pompous old fart teacher who took it waaay to seriously. This guy is cool. He said the only way you fail this class is if you don't try. Pretty sure I'll do ok in here too.

Since you're all wondering, and even if you're not, here are the answers to my questions:

Name: [student]
What do you do in the world? I work full time [at my job] and I am enrolled in school full time.

Family? I am happily married and have a 6 month old little girl
Course of study? Right now, Associates of Applied Science, major to follow
Musical ability, if any: I started playing drums when I was little, joined band in 6th grade and did percussion until 11th. I quit band when it stopped being fun.
What type of music you enjoy: Pretty much anything. I'm a hard rock/classic rock/metal kind of guy, but I appreciate any kind of music that has talented musicians playing it.
Why are you taking music appreciation
: I needed an art credit. Since regular art bores me, and I don't get it most of the time I decided this class was a better fit for me. I get music.

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