Saturday, May 3, 2014

A Little Something For The "Degree Holding Teachers Only" Music Schools

    If you own a music school (not college) and are only allowing people who have a piece of paper to teach there, as an experienced player and teacher, I feel sorry for you.

    There is a whole demographic of musicians who are very skilled and experienced teachers (some more-so than degree holders) at conveying solid knowledge to all ages and skills who are simply not the college type where they didn't want to be pulled away from their craft for Gen Ed classes that they didn't have any interest in and didn't want to pay for the loans required for something they're going to forget not long after the course is complete. These are the people who have ACTUAL experience using and teaching the craft which to me and owners of many places I've taught at balances things out nicely. To bar these people out is very unfortunate for your business and your students because you could be missing out on great people on your team. I've seen knowledgeable teachers who are great players but can't educate and keep students if their life depended on it.

    Do I know how to score an orchestra and remember all of the clefs that are used for instruments that I don't play? Do I know how to play two brass and two woodwind instruments? Do I know anything about anthropology or writing 15 page papers about the food pyramid? No and I'm proud of it.....because I have no use for those things, I'd forget these things anyway (As I say, "use it or lose it") and have no interest in any of it as it takes/took me away from the instrument that I am passionate about, dedicated to and want to build a career on the education of it. I have spent a ton of time on my specific instrument and can teach circles around the well rounded teachers that only know a little about everything.

    When I was twenty, I was already teaching, learning my instrument and getting better and better at both. I was getting experience as I went and getting comfortable with various ages and styles and there's something to be said for that too. I was becoming more and more confident and taking on students left and right and I'm talking about both one on one and even groups of inner-city kids.

    When I was teaching as adjunct faculty in high school, both of the regular teachers wished they could give me their class as well but since the system is garbage with bullshit regulations and union red tape, I couldn't provide that to them and the students. You could only get so many hours if you weren't a cert, but yet here the certs are having students change their mind on taking guitar class because they couldn't get MY class because I have a focused expertise on the instrument and how to teach someone how to express themselves with it. I'm not saying one way is better than the other and I'm not trashing hard earned degrees, but the type of person who found that being a music scholar isn't for them but is still experienced shouldn't be blown off.

Sit down with someone who's been in the trenches, talk to them and give them a shot.

You might be surprised.

Saturday, March 8, 2014


At work, myself and a friend are frequently going somewhere to grab a bite at lunch to get out of there for a bit, crack jokes and shoot the shit about whatever. After this long of making the local rounds, I've managed to categorize the people we deal with, see or otherwise encounter in our lunch adventures. 


This dude is a walking mystery. He's always seen carrying bags and jugs of orange juice at no regular time of the day. It's pretty clear that he is just out walking and carrying things randomly while wearing a winter coat in July with a determined look in his eyes. 

One time I made eye contact with him and was within about 20 feet of him as I was walking to my car and my nightmares intensified for only a few days so that's good. 


There's a guy who hangs out at the little tables at the convenience store near my work like I hang out at 24 hour coffee shops ...only worse...he lives there. He even packs lunch and asks them to heat it up. An odd place to hang out late but the main thing is that he has 2 large vehicles...a van and a pick up with a cap on the back both with a rear suspension that is mercilessly tested to the limits by hundreds of pounds of junk. This guy makes your local thrift shop look like chumps. 

I feel for his shocks/struts...I truly do. As he sits there reading his newspaper eating Dinty Moore from home and drinking his terrible, watered down coffee, his vehicles are silently begging to be put out of their misery.


We all know of one. The lady at the fast food place who calls you "hon" or "sweetie".....20 times before you leave. Mine also knows I'm in a metal band and asks when the next show is like she's gonna show up and tells me about her boyfriend's cover band. (Of course I know of the band and that if they ever stopped playing "Man in the box" and "Everybody's Working for the Weekend", their universe would crumble and they'd have a god damned identity crisis. 


How about the fast food lady (Different place) who thinks they're your buddy (even though you only go there once a month at most) and seems to think that they know everything about you but is totally off on all counts? Mine likes to think she has a handle on my habits of where I eat the food that I order. (At a place where they ask for your name on the order....which I never give my real name for because it's funny to say something I know they'll have an embarrassing time trying to type for the hassle I'm about to get)

"Is that for here or to go?"

"Here, please"

"OH you NEVER eat here!!"

"I, Ishmael always eat here..."

"No you always take it with you" (Yeah, she's arguing with me now)

*Gives the "I can't believe this is going on right now in my life" head shake " think I'd know"


The one that makes you want to go back even if you only get a "Hi" in. They usually leave for whatever reason soon and is replaced with a #3, #4 or #7.....Or a dude. 


This dude is inadvertently hilarious. 

He hates his life almost as much as he hates you and is millimeters close to sacrificing himself to the Planters Peanut Guy with a pumpkin knife but yet there he is with more pins and decorations on his uniform than Patton. 


Unfortunately, this lady is also racist....polite to her own and obviously cold to the other and for some reason expects people to read her entire god damned name tag where she has managed to fit a 2,984 word essay of some sort...and I'm sure as hell not going to ask her to tell me because that would mean interacting with her further beyond merely placing my order and moving on with my day. 


Bill doesn't fuck around. Period.

He was in prison for a while and he has the ink on his fist and sadly fading mullet to prove it. You can tell that it was once a powerful mullet that summoned dragons in ancient tongue with Dokken's "Under Lock and Key" album somehow playing in the background on its own power without the need of modern stereo equipment. You just hear it. 

You're just a piece of meat to him. It doesn't matter who you are, but for now, he'll sully himself to let you pay him for your gas at the convenience store before he destroys you and all of your morals.

So you arrived at your work's break room after picking up your food. Think you're done dealing with the rude and scary? 
Think again, bud. 


This one will hover over your table and interrupt conversations with your co-workers as you eat as if you've been waiting for them to arrive all day and that this is the high point of your shift. You can tell that they haven't been in the work force and now have to (again or for the first time) for whatever reason and have no people skills. They don't belong at your work, they belong on The View or Martha Stewart. They will come over, ask you what you're eating, comment on when you last had it (Oh don't worry, they'll fuckin' remember), how healthy it is and probably judge you with their face inches from your food but heaven-for-fucking-bid you bring that up, they're usually perfect and you're the rude it's at just give them passive aggressive single word responses that can't be used to build conversation and hope that they go away and get hit by a truck later. 

10. "UGH...YOU GUYS WATCH THIS???? Pfffffft"

This douche bag thinks that:

A. His political orientation is better and more informed than yours without even trying to know anything about you or even ask first AND....

B. jumps to the conclusion that if there's a news station on the TV in the break room with a known political bias, that YOU agree with it because you're in the room regardless of the fact that they've never seen you and aren't ever in the building and therefore have no idea if you have any control over what's ON the TV in the first place but will judge YOU anyway because it makes him feel good and scholarly. This pompous, arrogant prick makes Bills O'Reilly or Maher (Pick one, don't care.) look moderate and needs to get hit by a truck as well as #9.....a bigger one...

11. ME

I'm a dick in the break room.

I make fun of the commercials on the TV out loud like the sadness of Henry Winkler selling health insurance, commercials for gold and injury law firms. I also don't hold back at break. I accidentally swear sometimes and I also let myself laugh so damned loud and heavily that I fall out of my chair without any regard to how foolish I look. Actually....I don't think that should be annoying at all. That's your problem if that bugs you. People should calm down. Maybe I shouldn't be working in an office environment. Maybe I haven't had enough blueberry muffin square cereal that I bought at Wegmans....have you TRIED that shit? It's fucking too.

Gotta go work on guitar scales. Have a good one. Or don't.......just have one. It's your call.