raystrobel47: (Play brass)
Today, during "concert band" (it's a flute, trumpet, and alto sax), the flute player was absent. I got the flute that's been rented to play it. I've been teaching the kids Sousa's "Washington Post", from a score in all B-flat parts.

Because the trumpet player wanted to play the top part instead of the second, I transposed down a whole step on flute, an instrument I'm not too familiar with, and I've rarely read music of any difficulty on it. Felt kinda nice.
raystrobel47: (Play brass)
At Chatham, I teach what's called "Talent X", which introduces the different instrument families to the young kids who attend. I, of course, teach the brass instruments. Amy G., who teaches woodwinds, (and happens to be the daughter of my CMU composition professor) is an oboist, which means she also plays English Horn. Well, I got to play it today, and dooood was it cool. I remember taking oboe for my woodwind methods class, and I surprisingly did quite well on oboe, helped probably by the fact that as a trumpet player I'm used to lots of resistance in producing the sound. The English Horn had a beautiful mellow tone, and once I got a couple of notes I started to get a feel for the lower range and even some above the break.

The best part is that she began to teach me to play the "Going Home" theme from Dvorak's "New World Symphony". I had surprised [livejournal.com profile] fiannaharpar last week by calling her and having Amy play that into the cell phone. :-) In fact, I hadn't even realized that she was teaching me that theme until I got the first two or three notes. (C and E-flat, on the E-flat english horn. you figure out concert pitch.) Unfortunately, my last private student of the day showed up right as I was getting into it. Amy even commented that I had a pretty good sound on it too. Squee!! Ok, I totally wouldn't mind having one of those around, except that I am not in the position to make my own bloody reeds.

Thor day

Jun. 26th, 2008 09:26 pm
raystrobel47: (Daiko)
No, I don't mean Thor's day, I mean "I'm tho thor I can hardly thtand up!"

Summer is here, I am working at Chatham, which means I am using their gym facilities because I can, and they're free. I am still feeling the pain of yesterday's initial lower body workout. Every step hurts. I still did my cardio and incline sit ups today, but, in a word, owie. Maybe I overdid it, but I'll get over it. I'm just glad to be doing this again.

The good news is that this year I've begun my workouts during week 2 of the camp, whereas last year I didn't begin the weightlifting until week 3. I hope the extra week (two weeks if I can work during focus week) will help make a longer lasting difference. I'm still using the "Body for Life" program, but like a dolt I can't find the book or my notebook from last year. I'd rather have that notebook with all my annotations and remarks to help guide me this year. I can remember most of it, and am not being stupid about it. I'll just start another notebook if I can't find my old one, and check out the exercises online.

Oh, and I just started the sun salutations again (suryanamaskar). That woulda helped if I'd begun them earlier. Honestly, things were pretty crazy at the beginning of camp this year and I didn't make time for it. Better late than never.

Tomorrow's upper body again. It will take a looooooong time before I get pecs of doom.
raystrobel47: (Play brass)
This past week I have been showing my campers in Talent X Brass (introducing little kids to and teaching them about brass instruments) uncommon instruments. I'd already shown them the basics- trumpet, trombone, French horn (lent graciously by another instructor) and tuba (also graciously lent by a counselor who's looking to get her masters degree in it!). The kids even got a chance to play the trumpet, some of them the trombone. And since I had some different instruments, I thought it'd be a great way to fill time instructional opportunity to show them some unusual brass instruments. Many of those kids will never see those instruments again.

I brought my trumpet in D, which I bought from an owner of a used CD shop in Oakland who had it hanging on one of the walls. It was all tarnished, couple valves stuck, mouthpiece stuck, but other than that it looked fine. I offered to buy it and the owner agreed. The money I've made playing wedding gigs with that has more than paid for the instrument.

I brought in my straight horn that I use for SCA events and a little Moroccan straight trumpet bought at ...10,000 Villages? It's only 2+ feet long and used more like a festive noise maker, but a brass instrument nonetheless, and the kids got a kick out of seeing it.

But the one that I found enjoying more than I thought I would is my E-flat horn. It's like a piccolo tuba. Literally. Or a mini-baritone. It was made in Cleveland, about 50 or so years ago, and I bought it for $50 from the woman who *used* to teach talent X brass. That was a major steal. I really enjoy its sound. It is conical, like a tuba, euphonium, and cornet, so it has that beautiful mellow sound. The mouthpiece is an interesting relic, as it's shaped more like a bell than a cup, and I can play the fundamental on the horn. That's the absolute lowest sound possible on a brass instrument, yet no standard mouthpiece is built so it can be readily played or used. I can put it on my trumpet and play the fundamental there, too! If you're confused, come over to my house and I'll show you! :-)

In between classes, I would pick up that horn and just play it. I can play high and low on it due to my years of trumpet playing and its similarity in size to a trumpet mouthpiece. Because it's in E-flat I can play excerpts from Holst's Military Suite in E-flat trivially because -duh!!- it's keyed in C on the horn! The third valve is hitting part of the casing, and I can't fix that anytime soon, but it's still usable, if awkward. If I could fix it I would, and get it polished up to boot. I may have to keep that horn downstairs because- it's just so damn nice sounding. I guess it's reminding me of the cello in some ways. And Queen: "Little high, little low". I'm sorry if I lost most of y'all on this one, it's just something that struck me since I bought the instrument last year. I could also play alto sax parts, too. That might be something to try.
raystrobel47: (Conch shell)
I'm still waking up after a busy Saturday, so cleverness isn't on the radar.

Last night we had an unexpected and most enjoyable evening when [livejournal.com profile] cortana called us from Pittsburgh! He and Tiff invited us to meet up with Tiff's parents and brother for dinner. We settled on Red Hot & Blue at the Waterfront, and really had a nice time. It was so nice to see Tom and Tiff again, after... 3 years? It's been a while. Also, Tiff's parents are really nice, and score way high on the cool factor. Dinner itself was yummy. I had the sweet iced tea (a southern thang), but as Tiff's mom and I noticed, there was a distinct cinnamon taste. Not something I'd normally add, but it was tasty.

Earlier that day it was "Holy crapola, it's one week to land grab" time and while [profile] fiannaharpar was making clothes for the Pookster, I was cutting wood for the yurt door frame and poles from the center ring. Everything is cut now, I need to drill the holes in the roof poles, sand down their points, drill and screw together the door frame, and drill holes in the khana poles. I'm sure there are a couple other things in there that I'm missing.

The Chatham day camp is going well. Last week I had to come back for two seperate performances. Wednesday was the 50th anniversary picnic, MCed by Handyman Joe Negri himself. I was asked to write a fanfare for the occasion, for two trumpets and two trombones. It went very well, and people seemed to like it. Even Joe said it was real nice. That was neat. The best part of that whole evening? My wife and daughter were out in th audience watching, and before we started playing Lake called out, "I love you, Daddy!" Yeah, I'm a sucker for my kid.

This coming week is the last week of camp. I have one additional performance with the Elementary group (ages 5-6, with a small group of 4 yr olds) doing "Castle Dances," which is to say I'm teaching them medieval dance. SCA style. They've been doing quite well, even though some of the directions are a bit much for the younger kids. (I won't go off on other kids who are just space cadets) I've been using my recorder and a CD compiled by [livejournal.com profile] blackpaladin for the music, and I have two boys who want a copy of the CD to use for practice at home. Other kids in other groups will vie for what dance is next. We're doing Black Nag, Turkish (Maltese) Bransle, Horses Bransle and the Tangle Bransle. Tangle and Black Nag are most popular, but the others get their votes. The only dance I 'abandoned' was Heart's Ease, though I had more than one kid say that it was hard, but fun.

Today is a slow and late morning, with more sewing and woodwork to be done before a trek to Nany's is in order for this afternoon, much to Lake's delight.

Time flies

Jul. 7th, 2006 10:11 pm
raystrobel47: (South Park teacher)
Chatham Day Camp is already half over- just finished week three of six. Man, once the summer gets going, it don't stop.
raystrobel47: (Eye)
Read 40 entries. Oooh, I'm up to date now. :-P This morning's performance of Chomp (CHatham + stOMP for those wondering) went really well, and tomorrow's concert should go equally as well. Lots of good feedback, and hopefully enough kids will sign on to do this for the week after next, called "Focus Week." That'd mean an extra week of work for me, more experience, and more fun. I'm also making this a class for next year, and am probably reworking my "Knights and Castles" class into "Medieval Dance". It's hard to lecture to 6 year olds about the Middle Ages, but when I took them outside to learn the Horse's Bransle, they were really up to it and did a good job. I think I want to continue to go that route. It's historical, dance, and active. Next year at Chatham is really gonna be different.

Thank the Lord the weather was better today. I'm still stanky and am heading to the shower immediately after this, but it's actually pleasant outside. I sure hope that continues.

I just can't wait to go to bed. I could've gone an hour and a half ago and not have minded. Sleepy times!

P.S.-- Like the icon? It's my take on all the other extreeeeme close-ups out there, not knocking any of them. Just couldn't do the same thing.
raystrobel47: (Hank-what?!?)
Or so it seems. Ever since Chatham started going I haven't had time to read LJ at all in the last few weeks. I know I've missed tons of entries, and dey ain't no way I'm catching up. Hell, I'm not even reading through them tonight, I just figured I'd post. So here are my thoughts from the past month plus.

-Tomorrow is the morning assembly performance of "Chomp," the Stomp-like percussion group at the Chatham Day Camp. We made shirts and everything. All the instruments are painted, the music's been practiced, and this'll be our first performance. Should be exciting, as there's actually been a buzz about this whole project. :-)

-Car repairs are a bitch, if you haven't figured that one out yet.

-I'm hoping the humidity will finally break tomorrow like a bad fever. I can deal with 90+ degree weather, but mid-80s with 105% humidity are sheer torture. I feel like I've sweat nearly half my body weight in the past week. Which I wish I had, since I've discovered that I've regained all the weight I lost during my first year teaching at Johnston Elementary. Oh well.
raystrobel47: (Play brass)
The first week of the Chatham Day Camp is over, and things are clearing up as to how they'll develop through the next five weeks.

The wierdest thing is my percussion "ensemble". That word is in quotes because only four kids are signed up for it, and due to the fact that kids only have to enroll for a minimum of three weeks to the camp, not even consecutive weeks, I never see the same kids two weeks in a row. In fact, I never have all four at the same time. I'll have three, maximum, then a different three another week. Bizarre. Annoying. So, I've decided what I want to do. Instead of working up a traditional percussion performance with snare drum, bass drum, etc., (and that's it's own mish-mash cuz the kids are responsible for bringing all instruments and Chatham owns no percussion equipment) I want to do something Stomp-like. I'm going to go to Home Depot and get things like dowel rods, metal pails and screws and bolts, and maybe lids of some type for banging and rattling, and I'm in the process of recruiting camp counselors to help me in the performance. I think I have somewhere around nine volunteers, which with me and three kids, would make a decent ensemble. This could be really cool, and I want to make it work. I'll keep y'all updated.

The most straining is Knights and Castles class. This is the third year I've taught it to the elementary group (kids who've completed K or 1st gr.). While it seems to be a very popular class, it takes a lot of work, talking, and creativity to keep things interesting. I also teach it four times a day every day. I want to change what I do, which I have permission to do for next year, but I'm afraid anything else I try will fail and disappoint the younguns. *sigh* I don't know. I actually feel I have more of a grip on how to pace the class. Gotta think more on that.

The instrumental kids are the strongest we've had since I've been doing this camp, and this is my sixth year. The jazz band performed this morning, and they were strong. I got my turn at directing the orchestra, which has most of the jazz players, and they were also good. The strings were fewer than last year, and the strings teacher, who is new, gives me the impression that while she has a doctorate, she doesn't know much about working with kids at all. She seems very knowledgable, but awkward and unsure about how to go through a rehearsal. I'm finally at the point in my development where I'm reasonably confident about doing that, which makes me feel pretty good.


This weekend proves to be a doozy, with many folkses coming over for various reasons both Saturday and Sunday. I expect cricket, sewing, cooking, little girls, singing, and who knows what else. As usual I'm typing this near bed time and I'm beat-beat-beat. Hope to post tomorrow.
raystrobel47: (Lake not happy)
Just getting online now, and already time for bed. Ah, working with no computer access. Day Camp proves to be part fun, part challenge. Gotta think of another project for "Knights and Castles" for the wee ones. And what to do with a "percussion enseble" that will have no more than 3 kids in it at a time. *sigh* Wouldn't be so bad if Chatham weren't blindly greedy for any money they can get their hands on.

BMDL choir practice went really well tonight. I think our performances for the next two events, which include Pennsic, should be spot on. We're only eight strong, but are singing well with lots of new material.

I get to go to a baseball game tomorrow! My brother-in-law is taking me to see the Pirates face the Nationals. That should be cool, in part cuz I've never seen the Expos/Nationals, and it'll be my first baseball game in... three years, and I really like PNC Park. What I really can't wait for is when the Astros come to town in July. I hope they rebound from their woeful start by then.

I haven't even started reading y'all's entries yet... I reckon I'll need a lot of catch up time this summer.
raystrobel47: (Default)
Today was a busy day. I had that meeting at Chatham, [livejournal.com profile] lstrobel got to play with Elizabeth (friend from church) and had a blast, and today was the Æcademy. The meeting went well enough. Some changes from last year, more construction in the dorm where I teach, I still have the same small ass dorm room to teach in, but now I have to teach percussion and percussion ensemble. I'm thinking a little traditional stuff, but also "Stomp" like material. I would really like to do something like that. I also am teaching Knights and Castles to the real younguns (just completed K and 1st grade) again, for the third year, but now only have one group at a time. With 8 groups, my entire afternoons are filled with little munchkins. Not exactly my idea of the best time, but I'll deal better with the smaller groups. I've also heard some kids here and there last year say how Knights and Castles was their favorite class, so I guess it ain't too bad. Gotta think of something interesting again this year. *sigh* To be honest, it stretches me, but I'd rather teach the older kids and/or some musical subject.

Anyway, that was quite the tangent. After the meeting, I went home, ate and finally showered my stanky white ass (along with the rest of me), got garbed up, picked up Pooky, and headed to the Æcademy.
Æcademy foo: SCA related )

Now we're done, we're tired, and tomorrow's Father's Day. That's another post for tomorrow, cuz I'm still kinda amazed that Father's Day is something I get to celebrate now. This is my third one, too. Like I said, a post for tomorrow.

It's August

Aug. 2nd, 2004 03:35 pm
raystrobel47: (Trumpet)
A quote from Mr. Obvious? No, I just didn't have anything else more impressive to use for my title.

I haven't kept up with LJ for the last few weeks, and I'm not gonna try to catch all the way up from my last post. I'd been a little frustrated with the LJ scene, so I took a break. I'll certainly be making more posts once the school year starts up again, and hopefully a few more will come forth this month.

Chatham Day Camp has finished. It was a good, if really busy, camp. We had legitimate band and orchestra performances, a first since I've been with the day camp. Also amusing was working with the retired band director of Wilkinsburg High School, who's retirement and subsequent lateral moves opened up the job that I now have. Oh, does he have stories. I got quite an education myself. The "knights and castles" class I taught to the little ones (5-6 yr old) was one of the biggest challenges, but I also heard some kids say it was their favorite class. That made me feel good. :-)

Day Camp also clarified a couple of viewpoints of mine: 1) I really enjoy teaching the older kids (10 and up) more than the younger kids. Not that I didn't have a good time teaching them, but it's just a preference of mine. 2) I like conducting. Even though it's no longer an ambition of mine to be a HS band director, I still got a thrill out of directing an arrangement of mine that came together pretty well. I think it was the "my arrangement" part that really gave me the thrill. But it was neat to be in front of a band/orchestra and lead them in music. I felt in my element.

Now, I thought that I might be working this week too, their "Focus Week", but I was only able to secure three of the four kids needed to start a new instrumental track. So, it's a little bit of a bummer that I won't be working and pumping up my paycheck, but looking at what I'd have to do, I think it's not so bad. I would've had a French horn (upper intermediate), trumpet (beginner), alto sax (lower intermediate), and drummer (intermediate). And I would've been their only instructor for the whole day. I'd be scrambling for "classes" to teach them from now til Friday. Not that I couldn't've figured something out, but I won't mind having the whole month to myself.

Speaking of which, even though we're not going to Pennsic, I'm trying to get more info on Taiko drumming, and I found this site that shows more of the oral notation used in Japanese drumming. I sent email to the author, hoping that he can answer more of my questions or point me in a right direction.

As far as school starting again in September, well, I don't need to think about that right now, so I won't. :-) I'll save that one for a couple weeks down the line.
raystrobel47: (Default)
Totally unmotivated to update. Feeling of "why bother" abounds. Not that interesting stuff hasn't happened. The long weekend was great, Lake is hilarious in squeaky shoes, and I got to dig up a still at a family reunion.

Camp is going well enough. I'm realizing more and more that I do enjoy teaching the older kids more in general than the younger ones. But it's still being fun and I like it.

Today's my brother's birthday. He's 54. I oughta call him. Hmm... after doing dishes, I think. :-)


raystrobel47: (Default)

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