Friday, May 24, 2013

99 Bottles?

This last Tuesday on the way back from a music festival in Canada I was provided with the gift of a song from the back of the bus: "99 bottles of beer on the wall..." I was in shock. In all my time at Eisenhower no band had ever sang that. I turned around in my position at the front of the bus to observe a whole bus load of smiling faces. It was obvious that their choral choice had come right out of the first chapter of my book. They got me good.
I got them to stop singing by yelling, "OK, who hid the duct tape!" 
The laughter felt good as did the Gold certificate they received from the judges at that festival.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Back to it.....

   After a hiatus due to an extremely busy, not book stuff....I have returned to this blog. Why do I have time now? One simple word might explain it. Cancer. Six years ago cancer knocked on my door and walked right in, in spite of no invitation to do so. Along with some help from some local bouncers, most with the prefix of Dr. in their names, I was able to throw cancer out on its ear.
Somehow, six years later cancer was able to sneak back in to my home due to a disguise. I wasn't being wary enough of a cancer that would slide into my bones. So now I have been rounding up more bouncers to work on eradicating this latest uninvited guest. It seems that these bouncers, with similar name prefixes as the earlier bouncers, are making head-way and I am showing some form of improvement. One day at a time.
   Concerning my first book, I have not been getting new orders from stores but am still getting royalty checks every month from Amazon. So somebody must be reading it. The nice thing for me deadlines to fulfill!
   As far as my book 2 is concerned, I have began doing more writing due to a gig schedule that has slowed, the reason as indicated above. Of course, I am always doing research. For example, the day after our school Holiday Concert I was placed into a contemplative mood. I was thinking how hard it would be for a successful band teacher to be have strong A.D.D. or A.D.H.D. tendencies. This is the reason for my conclusion:
  These are the problems that occurred in preparation for and during the concert --
   1. A pad fell out of a student's clarinet ten minutes before the downbeat. I was able to find a new pad and glue it in with 5 minutes to spare.
   2. One of my Advanced Band students couldn't find his uniform pants. Never mind the fact that he didn't begin to look for it only an hour before the show. I think I will have to reread Chapter 2 of "Help I'm In The Band" to see if I put that excuse in there. Chapter 2, as you know, is "The Official Band Excuse List."
At any rate, we were able to find some donated used pants to save his day.
   3. One of the microphones used by the choir was "crackling" and had to be replaced.
   4. About a third of my students (150 total that night) needed to discuss something or other with me while we were getting ready. A number of these questions came from the set-up crew, questions which were already addressed during daytime rehearsals. This makes me ponder a malady in our country: short-term memory loss. Short-term memory loss is something that affects various people in our society, most notably elderly people and most students in grades 6 through 8. Here are some examples of questions addressed to me just before the Holiday Concert started:

  1. Where do we get chairs for the Advanced Band?
  2. Where do we get chairs for the Intermediate Band?
  3.  Are there any more music stands?
  4.  How many chairs do we need?
  5.  Should I set up my instrument now?
  6.  Where do I put my second instrument?
  7.  Would you hold my second instrument?
  8.  Why is my instrument squeaking?
  9.  Why is my chair squeaking.
  10.  Why are you squeaking?
There are many more questions that were asked but remembering them starts to bring back that eye-twitch that I have worked hard to subdue.

If you have actually made it to the end of this post then do me a favor and let your friends know that I am back. Having two or three people read my blog makes me feel more complete than wasting the time of just one person.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Mouthpiece Story

So I told the "Mouthpiece Story" to a bunch of beginning band students. It is actually a true story but I tell it to encourage students to clean their mouthpieces. I do not plan to tell it could be the last time that anyone reads this blog. Just let it suffice to say mouthpiece hygiene is important.

On Friday I told the same story to a few band teachers. A couple of them turned green. I think I won't tell that story again for another year.....

Maybe I should include it in book 2?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Programming is everything.

Last year my principal told me she needed to observe me teaching class a couple of times so she could record her official evaluation. So I invited her to come on the day I was teaching beginning band clarinet players how to play high notes. She only lasted ten minutes. Later on she mentioned I was doing so well she wouldn't need to return for the second evaluation...

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Code of Silence

OK. I am breaking the code of silence. Once I finished my summer tour, school started, I started doing a lot of gigs, went fishing and wrote a little on book 2. Blogging dropped in importance, hence the code of silence. However, a person needs to sometimes say stuff. Like...

It's kinda fun getting royalty checks from Amazon. I mean, I won't be buying a yacht soon but the book seems to be doing ok. People are starting to hear about it, there have been some nice reviews, and it beats delivering pizza at my age.

Also, every day that the school band meets I am reminded of the stories I wrote and why I wrote them. My psychiatrist felt it was a good way of helping get rid of the stress created by the beginning band. On mornings that I would write I was more apt to actually show up to school. And I think writing actually helped with the shakes, as well.

BTW: some Everett people have been asking where to get the book locally. You can find it at Solid Rock Coffee Company10025 19th Avenue Southeast #102  Everett, WA 98208.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

A week off.

I have had a week off of book stuff, music stuff, and work stuff. Been sailing, working around the house and will be golfing tomorrow. I haven't written anything on book 2 for 6 days. Do I feel guilty? No.

Saturday, August 4, 2012


Today marks the end of my book signing tour. I will be at Auntie's Bookstore this afternoon between 1 & 3PM. Any Spokanites are welcome to come down and say "Hi." Then home!!
It's been fun for a little over a week but I am reminded why I left "the road" for more permanent digs.

I really enjoyed eating at Abrosia Bistro out in the Spokane Valley last night. Had the short ribs and the chef, Mitch Thomas had it nailed! If you are out that way it is a MUST for dining.

Tonight I sleep in my own bed!!   : 0)