The music of my past…

Last night, I had a bit of time to myself and went searching through my music library. First, I was looking for Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, so I put ‘Jesu’ in the search field. Now, it turns out I don’t have that exact piece, but what came up was an excerpt of the colonial chorale When Jesus Wept from my American Music class. After listening through that piece that has a sound so distinctively American to me now, I had the inkling to then search for ‘New England’.

What popped up was Ives’ Three Pieces from New England and Schuman’s New England Triptych. It was for the Triptych that I was looking, for it was the most amazing set of works I ever played in high school. I still feel like I know those pieces inside and out; we rehearsed them and tore them down and rebuilt them so thoroughly. We then performed that set, along with other works, for the state conference on music education in California in my junior year. I still have the program we displayed for our performance, because I used that for signatures as opposed to a yearbook.

I’m not quite certain why the music activated my memory so vividly last night. A whole flood of semi-dormant memories came back to me, and they still are this morning. Now that my thoughts are in that section of my mind, I can recall sitting in the band room, watching my favorite teacher conduct the Euphonium portion of the chorale from When Jesus Wept, the middle movement of the Triptych. That moment was such as special place and time, a small portion of a great thing I was a part of while being educated in music under that teacher (who I miss a great deal).

I think that what helped to bring all this to the fore in my mind is that I’m working in a school with kids just starting out on their instruments. It’s bringing me back to my own beginnings in music, of which there have been many. And so with that weighing on my mind, and then hearing the Triptych, it all came back to me. I, of course, had no concept of how truly special that band program was at the time, but since leaving it and encountering so many others, my old band had a quality and caliber rarely seen elsewhere.

I very much want to give that same kind of experience to these kids here. Granted, these aren’t high schoolers who have been playing at least four years prior to arriving, but I can at least get them all started on the proper footing. It’s thrown my aspirations for a bit of a loop, as through much of college I had decided I would rather pursue a career in teaching government and history, rather than music. And keeping with that allowed me to graduate sooner and begin my life with my family.

But now, it’s getting hazy. I’m working the technology end at an arts school which puts me in cahoots with music teachers more than anyone else. And starting in January, the jazz band will be under my direction alone. My work experience and my minor have been invaluable to me, and my full degree has done little more than put me in a higher pay scale (nothing to sneeze at, of course). At least I know that in some capacity I want to be a proper school teacher, and that will come in time. It is just that who and what I would be teaching has become less clear. What keeps recurring is the feeling that as music and band have always been not only so important to me, but such an integral part of me, and I think has done nothing but made me a better person, that I want to make sure it is given to kids forever more.

For still today, even at a school for the arts, the importance specifically of music is completely underappreciated. In nearly any study taken at any given school, those schools with proper music programs have students who are better disciplined and have a higher capacity for learning than those schools without. Just another item on my list of things to change or improve in the United States, and I swear, it seems the section on education keeps getting longer.

Ta~

The music of my past…

Last night, I had a bit of time to myself and went searching through my music library. First, I was looking for Bach’s Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, so I put ‘Jesu’ in the search field. Now, it turns out I don’t have that exact piece, but what came up was an excerpt of the colonial chorale When Jesus Wept from my American Music class. After listening through that piece that has a sound so distinctively American to me now, I had the inkling to then search for ‘New England’.

What popped up was Ives’ Three Pieces from New England and Schuman’s New England Triptych. It was for the Triptych that I was looking, for it was the most amazing set of works I ever played in high school. I still feel like I know those pieces inside and out; we rehearsed them and tore them down and rebuilt them so thoroughly. We then performed that set, along with other works, for the state conference on music education in California in my junior year. I still have the program we displayed for our performance, because I used that for signatures as opposed to a yearbook.

I’m not quite certain why the music activated my memory so vividly last night. A whole flood of semi-dormant memories came back to me, and they still are this morning. Now that my thoughts are in that section of my mind, I can recall sitting in the band room, watching my favorite teacher conduct the Euphonium portion of the chorale from When Jesus Wept, the middle movement of the Triptych. That moment was such as special place and time, a small portion of a great thing I was a part of while being educated in music under that teacher (who I miss a great deal).

I think that what helped to bring all this to the fore in my mind is that I’m working in a school with kids just starting out on their instruments. It’s bringing me back to my own beginnings in music, of which there have been many. And so with that weighing on my mind, and then hearing the Triptych, it all came back to me. I, of course, had no concept of how truly special that band program was at the time, but since leaving it and encountering so many others, my old band had a quality and caliber rarely seen elsewhere.

I very much want to give that same kind of experience to these kids here. Granted, these aren’t high schoolers who have been playing at least four years prior to arriving, but I can at least get them all started on the proper footing. It’s thrown my aspirations for a bit of a loop, as through much of college I had decided I would rather pursue a career in teaching government and history, rather than music. And keeping with that allowed me to graduate sooner and begin my life with my family.

But now, it’s getting hazy. I’m working the technology end at an arts school which puts me in cahoots with music teachers more than anyone else. And starting in January, the jazz band will be under my direction alone. My work experience and my minor have been invaluable to me, and my full degree has done little more than put me in a higher pay scale (nothing to sneeze at, of course). At least I know that in some capacity I want to be a proper school teacher, and that will come in time. It is just that who and what I would be teaching has become less clear. What keeps recurring is the feeling that as music and band have always been not only so important to me, but such an integral part of me, and I think has done nothing but made me a better person, that I want to make sure it is given to kids forever more.

For still today, even at a school for the arts, the importance specifically of music is completely underappreciated. In nearly any study taken at any given school, those schools with proper music programs have students who are better disciplined and have a higher capacity for learning than those schools without. Just another item on my list of things to change or improve in the United States, and I swear, it seems the section on education keeps getting longer.

Ta~

Ah ha! We meet again…

Well, it seems that it has practically been an age since I’ve last written out to the world. Who knew that buying and moving into my first house would occupy so much of my life? I had simply assumed that Michelle and I would just have to sign a couple pieces of paper, move our few possessions and our son’s many, and everything would be peachy keen. Okay, so I didn’t assume that at all. I knew it would be a long and drawn-out process to get all our finances in order and the utilities up and running (only yesterday got internet and phone back up and running, and even that may change, depending on how much we want better internet and more tv). Plus it’s taken me over two weeks to finally clean and sort through our junk to get to the point where one of our cars could actually be parked in the garage, of all places. Of course, it’s not the car I drive, but it’s at least something. Maybe someday I’ll be able to live the dream of parking my own car in the garage during winter! (Not this winter, but someday!)

So all that was a rather roundabout way to say that I finally have both internet and a slightly more eased life so I can finally write to everyone. Although, at the moment, I’m typing this out at work while waiting for a couple computers to finish doing what they’re doing. I won’t explain what exactly I’m doing, as it would probably lull you into a state of boredom to the point of thinking less of me.

Speaking of work, it is going quite well for me. I like working as the tech guy at a school, and as it’s turned out, I think I’m more on the ball than many of my new peers at other schools. And since it’s middle school, these kids are easy and fun to mess with. But what I’ve also managed to do is become a resident music technician as well. I’ve started going in to the beginning band regularly now to help those kids who have only just started playing their instruments for the first time. It’s lots of fun, and it makes for a nice break from dismantling and reassembling computer hardware and software. Starting in late November, I’ll even be teaching a music composition class after school, and after winter break, I’ll be the jazz teacher here too. The big thing for me will be to learn enough piano and brass to get by teaching the kids a little technique.

Austin turned three this month, which feels rather unbelievable, but it happened. We didn’t get in much celebrating because three days later we went and bought our house and started moving in. I’ll be posting up pictures below. It’s taken a couple weeks now, but the new house is slowly turning from where we live into our home. For me it’s been a great relief having things settle into their proper places in the house. I’m beyond prone to misplace things by simply setting them down where I wouldn’t look for them, and previously nothing had its place where I would look for it. But now, it’s shaping up well. Now I can set my keys down and only lose them for fifteen seconds instead of five minutes.

Michelle’s doing well enough, considering the wedding is about two weeks away now. Her job as a teller at a new bank is working out, and some shimmers of hope toward advancement are poking through the clouds of the entry-level world. She’s overdue to be noticed for her abilities and intelligence where she works. But all that is still taking a backseat to the coming days.

I’ll be posting up pictures here quickly. I just wanted to say that I hope everyone is doing well, and that I’ll see you sooner than later. This will be both an email and a blog post, so that those of you who are a little more savvy can bookmark my blog and read what I post there too. Now that I have internet at home and loads of computers to write on, I can finally keep up with it, if nothing else than for the sake of all of you I am out of direct contact with. Still, I plan to send out emails when I can to whoever will read them.


My lovely future wife and son playing in our new front yard.


Our increasingly big little boy.


The front of our new home on Orchid Circle.


Here’s the back. See the deck? That’s been a long-time dream of mine.


The ol’ Rav. Notice the plates? Yeah, never saw that coming.


This picture is for my dear Uncle Dave. I have one of those rare and highly soughtafter two-tone 1992 Corollas, and wouldn’t you know it, it’s what I’m lucky enough to drive! Yeah, I saw it coming.


And last, here’s our little family out to dinner on Austin’s third birthday.

Toodles~
Evan

PS, this is both an email and a blog. To follow the blog, it is posted at ebfryer.blogspot.com