My American History Professor told us to wear blue on Wednesday for “Rhapsody in Blue day”. Some students mumbled, but most just laughed at yet another odd request from a teacher who is, to put it nicely, slightly senile.
We were discussing the roarin’ ’20s and the Great Depression and he’d been promising us an amazing Rhapsody in Blue experience for weeks. I think I was the only one in the class feeling true excitement about this.
**On a side note, if you haven’t heard all 16 minutes and 42 seconds of this beautiful piece of music before, you really should. It’s a marvel and a treat.**
So yesterday I wore blue.
And the Professor walked into class also wearing blue (shirt, tie, and blazer) and carrying, to my surprise, a trumpet case. Oh, this ought to be good! I know from prior classes, when he has given us personal renditions of “classic” American songs, that the old man holds absolutely no rhythm in his whole body, bless his heart.
**On another side note, you can basically say anything horrible about someone and make it sound somewhat kind if you add “bless his/her heart” afterwards. Here’s an example: Did you see her hair? It’s as if birds gathered trash and decided her head was a perfect place to nest, bless her heart. See? It leaves behind an unspoken “Poor thing. He/She can’t help it.” that makes everything okay.**
So we settled in, and that’s when it happened: I saw myself as an old man.
With the assistance of much more tech-savvy students, my Professor managed to get Rhapsody in Blue playing through the classroom speakers while the Windows Media Player’s psychadelic background swirled and whirled on the screen. He took his trumpet out of his case, stood in front of the screen, faced the dazzling colors, and started to conduct the music, occasionally bringing up his trumpet to fake play and accent certain phrases, usually when the instrument we heard was not, in fact, a trumpet.
He did this for all 16 minutes and 42 seconds of it. I was impressed. It’s a difficult thing to do, and I should know, since I have done it. My car is a wonderful place, by the way, and I would like to take the time to quickly make you aware of the fact that I am the person you laugh at who is dancing, singing, and, quite often, conducting in my car. I have conducted all of Rhapsody in Blue before (with a heck of a lot more accuracy than my professor, thank you very much) and air played every instrument in the piece. I also give amazing orchestiral cues when there are a dramatic uptakes in sound, should you be wondering.
Because of my love for the music, I thoroughly enjoyed the performance, even when he said he would end his conducting in perfect sync with the last note and ended up being a beat too late, bless his heart. It got me thinking about teaching and how much I can’t wait until I get to be the one in front of a room full of students. I appreciate this professor for bringing in the arts as a part of learning history. You see, we have Music History, Art History, History through Literature, and History through Film, and people, on a whole, enjoy taking those classes, but they tend to hate their regular history class. Who’s to say that these subjects have to be separate? People should get to learn about slavery and how the blues stemmed from songs the slaves sang in the fields. People should get to learn about the Great Depression and experience it through watching The Grapes of Wrath. That’s the kind of teacher my professor is and that’s the kind of teacher I want to be. That is going to be me. I saw my future as a teacher and it was in the form of a againg man! Go figure.
I DO want to add that it truly saddened me to have to sit in a classroom where so many of my peers just laughed and said things like, “oh this is gonna make me go to sleep for sure.”
Come on, people! Let a little culture in! Be a well-rounded individual and be proud of that! Appreciate where you came from! Don’t let ignorance get the best of you!
I’ve decided to leave you today with this slightly different rendition of Rhapsody in Blue. When I was in high school (with Steven and Rachel), we were in band and we used to talk about field shows that were before our time and how much we wished we had played in them because they were “so awesome!” My sister told me recently that people talk about our field shows in the same way. I guess that makes sense, but it’s strange being on the other side of it. It was quite something, though, when she told me that some of her friends watch our field shows on YouTube. Thank goodness for the internet, right? How else would kids 7 years our junior get to appreciate OUR awesomeness?
If you’re in the know, you might be able to spot Steven, Rachel, and me. I can.
-Erincapable of writing a short post, sorry.