In the continuing saga of student who doesn't think I can sing...
Student: Do you play piano?
Me: Yes, a little.
Student: Maybe you should play that instead of trombone.
Student: Or maybe you should sing full-time instead. Then maybe you could sound good.
Sassy student is sassy.
*students sing A-B-C-D-E-F-G, then back down*
Director: What is this called?
Student: The magical alphabet!
I mean...you're not wrong.
A student had a scale sheet with the "Db Major" scale in 6 flats instead of the usual 5.
Student: I think [band director/my older brother] is trying to trick me. Thanks for fixing it. You're better looking too.
Me: Did you practice much this week?
Student: Not a lot. I had much more fun things to do.
Me: You better not say video games.
Student (far too excitedly): No, I went to a funeral yesterday and I got to see a dead body!
😳 If I end up mysteriously disappearing, I have a suspect for you...
*upon finding out that my sister has her master's in flute but I do not have my master's*
Student: You didn't, like, take classes from your dad or anything?
Me: ...why would that help...?
Student: I dunno. I thought maybe your dad had started a college or something.
That's a pretty normal thought to have. I understand.
*while playing something for a beginning student, I see his trombone slowly fall to the ground*
Student: Oh. I guess my toes aren't strong enough to hold up my trombone...
A few months ago one of my students told me I don't have a good singing voice...
Today (hearing a vocal student the next room over)
Student: You should take lessons from her, she sounds good.
*later, after I sang something*
Student: Have you ever taken vocal lessons?
Student: Oh. Because I think even just 1-2 would do you some good.
Teaching is brutal sometimes...
*I say something the student would have no reason to know*
Student: I know.
Me: ...no you don't...
Student: You're right. But sometimes if you say, "I know" it makes you smound [sic] smarter. Wait... 🤦♂️
He just finished finals yesterday. It was a good lesson...
Me: Pretend I'm [orchestra conductor] and that you are auditioning for me.
*student plays piece*
Me: Let me hear the beginning faster.
*student plays first note and pauses; I wait for him to restart and continue; he does not*
Student (with as straight a face as he can manage): Sir, would you like to hear me play anything else?
Kids these days... 🤦♂️
Background: student has had numerous sports injuries during the 2+ years he's been taking lessons from me.
*student accidentally hits stand, chair, keyboard, etc. with trombone during lesson*
Me: Dude, you have to be more aware of what's around you. Think of your trombone as an extension of your body.
Student: I don't think that's a good idea given how poorly I treat my body. 😂
I conceded that point and told him to protect it like it's a baby...
Two summers ago one of my students was talking about how great fidget spinners were. Our conversation basically went like this:
Me: Fidget spinners are dumb.
Student: You should try them!
Student: When's your birthday?
Me: I don't have one.
He stopped taking lessons after that summer, then started back up this spring. Today he handed me a package, which I was confused by, until...
Student: Can you guess what it is?
Me: Oh no... Whyyyy...? Why a fidget spinner?
I almost didn't open it at that point...and now I have a fidget spinner...Sunday lessons are the worst. 😐
*I sing a phrase for a student the way he played it, breathing every bar and cutting off the ends of notes before breathing*
Me: What was wrong with the way I just sang that?
Student: ...you...don't have a good voice?
Teaching is brutal sometimes. 😂
Beginning band director: Who is called The Father of Classical Music?
Some students' answers:
"Elvis Presley" (x5+)
"Zeus, because he was the father of Apollo, and Apollo created music."
"God, because He created everything."
A few students guessed Mozart and Beethoven, but none got the right answer...
One of my students is in one of the bands my older brother directs.
Me: What are your goals for lessons?
Student: To finish this book so I can make it into the next band.
Me: Ok, what's keeping you from finishing that?
Student: Your brother.
Glad he has a sense of humor.
Beginning saxophonist: Saxophone is sexy!
Beginning percussionist (muttered to herself): Not when you play it...
Sometimes [let's be real, most times, haha] working with beginning band is hard. But sometimes they're still my favorites.
*I make a dumb pun*
*student looks at me like I just made a dumb pun*
Me: I know, I'm the funniest person here.
Student: Um, no, I think your water bottle is.
At beginning band today...
Student: Where is Mr. Adam?
Me: He's not here today.
Student: Did you tie him up and put him in a closet???
Me: Yes, we tied him up and stuck him in a closet. 🙄
Student (pointing at me), to other students: GET HIM!!!
*2nd-year trombone student plays double-high Eb*
Student (sincerely uncertain): Do you think my range is good enough to get me through high school?
Sometimes you're blessed with a student from a musical family who compares himself to ridiculously talented string and piano players. 😂
*student shines flashlight in my eyes [I don't know why this happened either]*
Student: Is this shining in your eyes?
*student turns on strobe feature*
Student: Am I hypnotizing you??
*end of lesson, student starts walking out of the room wearing his jacket by only the hood on his head, mostly covering his eyes*
Me: Can you even see anything?
Student: I'm an emo now.
Student: Is it okay if I bomb my audition on purpose so I get 3rd chair in band?
*beginning sax section plays what should have been a unison*
Student (to me): Are car horns just recordings of saxophones?
Me: Pretend you’re a bee playing trombone, and sound [buzzy] like that.
Student: I’m not half-robot, I can’t do that.
Had my last lesson with a student, and I was signing the end of his lesson book he had finished.
Me: ...I just blanked on your last name...
Student: [student’s name]. But you can call me Smalls. That’s what my teachers at school call me. But I only let the ones I like call me that.
I have been teaching music across the Twin Cities since 2011. Along with seeing students grow as musicians and people, one of the joys of teaching is the ridiculous things my students say.