Monday, February 02, 2009


In my seemingly never-ending quest to jump through all of the hoops to get into graduate school, I called one of my professors from the college where I did my undergraduate work to ask both about a letter of recommendation and about a accompaniment track (as I need to sing for part of my audition this Friday (!) and the auditioners do not provide an accompanist, I need to find someone to record a track of what I will be singing).

When I called, it became obvious to me that I had called during a class-time, because I started to hear audio of this professor's music class. I assume that he had meant to press the red button to send me to voice mail, but had inadvertantly hit the green button which opened up the line. The obvious choice would have been to have immediately hung up, but I couldn't help remembering a lot of happy times in college learning and developing my love for music.

What I heard was some indistinguishable talking, and then notes on a piano. He must have been teaching a sight-singing class, and I immediately had a guess about their solfege form:

Do, re, mi, mi, fa, mi, re, do.

I listened as he explained that this easy sequence of notes was foundational to a good understanding and development of sight-singing and ear-training.

I immediately thought back to yesterday, when I showed up late to a call-back for a show, they asked me if I could sight-read music, I nodded, and they gave me a sheet with pretty difficult music and told me to go into the hall to review it. Fortunately, I had heard some of the song before (though not all of it together, and only the easier parts; I know this doesn't mean anything to most of you, but this song was going back and forth between major and minor in keys relative to the printed key: this was a difficult piece of music). When I got into the audition room, and they played the melody for me once or twice, I was actually pretty pleased with how close my practicing in the hall was to the actual melody; I think that my auditioners were impressed with how quickly I picked it up.

The next thing I heard on the phone call was a wavering voice, unsure of the solfege, trying to duplicate what the teacher had played on the piano. I remembered what life was life back as a freshman, and how impossible the idea of four semesters of sight-singing was. I even briefly switched majors because I of how much I didn't want to do four semesters of sight-singing. The wavering voice sang out:

Do, re, mi, mi, fa, mi, re, do.

My initial analysis had been correct.

I stayed on the phone for a couple of minutes, essentially peering in on this music class for a second time. I knew how hard it seemed, and I had just recently reaped the rewards of fighting through. I finally hung up the phone when the voices became too scrambled to really ascertain what was being said, but I did so with a smile.

Sometimes teachers know what they're talking about. Sometimes you can't help from smiling when you consider the foundations. Sometimes the hoops you have to jump through end up making you the person you wanted to be in spite of yourself.
Sometimes, just sometimes, you get a precious chance to look at the person you were from the vantage point of the person you are.

And all because somebody had the gift of mercy to press the wrong button.


Buttercup said...

The last 2 lines are my favorite. I love when moments like that happen! You're such a gifted writer - I like the depth & the comedy - you've got range, my friend:)

Agains said...

Buttercup dice la verdad. Tienes skills, mi amigo.