Monday, August 5, 2013

Beatles - Eleanor Rigby

When I think of The Beatles, I think of 3 main teaching moments.

1.) I introduced a Beatles Medley to a class that had always been very...antagonistic.  I got them as 6th graders, and for years they complained how they hated everything I picked out no matter what I picked out.  Of course, they hated everything in general and enjoyed complaining and being generally negative.  When I found the Beatles Medley for orchestra, I got super excited and handed it out.  I STILL remember that a cello player scoffed, and bitterly said, "The BEATLES?  Why are we playing this?  Nobody knows who The Beatles are!"  Let the educating begin.

I relayed this story to the audience the night we performed it.  When I quoted my student (anonymously), the audience booed.  When I said, "This is why we have music education," the response was cheering and applause.  My bitter cellist smiled at me, and I genially laughed at him.

2.) I had a very serious concertmaster.  He practiced hours and hours every week.  He only listened to classical music.  He always looked exhausted from studying so much.  I can't remember if it was Eleanor Rigby or if it was the same Beatles Medley, but I passed it out at the end of the year.  Being the diligent student he was, he looked up the music and listened to the original(s).  For the rest of the year, every time it was time for us to rehearse our Beatles, he would break into happy song and serenade the class.  For a teenage boy to break out into random song without being remotely self-conscious is...impressive.  The rest of the class would smile, enjoying his song.  That was his introduction to the Beatles, and it remains one of his favorite musical groups.  :)

3.) The last story is kind of sad and funny at the same time.  I had a cellist who, since elementary school, asked if we could play Eleanor Rigby.  I'm talking...years.  This particular cellist...did not practice.  He also didn't pay attention in class.  He was a very sweet kid but I think he wanted to be an amazing cello player without putting any effort in whatsoever (don't we all).  The year we decided to play it, my cello section was so weak that I had had to rewrite all the music the whole year for them to be able to play anything.  So the ONE cool line that the cello actually gets...I had to take out, because they couldn't play it.  He was so happy to be playing Eleanor Rigby, but all he got to play was quarter notes because that's all the section could and would do.  I was glad to see him happy, but rather sad that he couldn't play a pretty easy line of eighth notes.

I also think of the time I played Eleanor Rigby for a fancy event, and am an came and tipped me $50.  That...was pretty awesome.  Feel free to send me money upon hearing my video.  =D

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