Student Wisdom & Commentary

I Can Only Tell You They Said It, Not Why They Said It…

All of my students were geniuses, although some of them didn’t realize it yet. In attempts to forge new intellectual ground in their commentary and prose, they sometimes exercised their creativity in unexpected ways. And they were bold enough on occasion to challenge the familiar axiom: “There is no such thing as a dumb question.”

Here are some of their most insightful moments, submitted to me in the form of papers, test answers, and direct questions or comments. It was comforting to know that the future of the country was in their hands.

Insightful Comments I Received In Concert Reviews & Tests…

“A minor key sounds like the bad guys are having a party.”

“All in all, this was a very good concert for the Gunn budget. I say this because Gunn is the only school that I know of that is so cheap it makes you pay to get into a girls’ badminton game.”
— Review of Gunn High School jazz concert

“He eventually went death during the end of his career.”
–Midterm essay on Beethoven

“Another thing I noticed on the third floor (of Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco) was that the clothing of the audience was MUCH cheaper than the clothing of the first floor audience… The (people) I noticed most were two women wearing Egyptian sorts of things with angel ringy things on top of their heads, which looked absolutely ridiculous. What are two fifty-year-old women with sagging cheek muscles and shriveled up skin doing in little skimpy things that show off their shoulders? Sad, sad, sad… I thought that the concert was excellent. The piece, I thought, was very interesting and sounded cool after I listened to it about 50 times on a CD that I borrowed from the library.”
— Review of a San Francisco Symphony concert

“I recommend it to you if you are having trouble sleeping… When my mom said I had to dress really nice, she meant it. I felt like I was going to the biggest funeral in the world when I got there, everyone was wearing black! The length, oh don’t get me started on the length, I didn’t know people could keep singing for that long and still have something to sing about! This thing dragged on and on and on, oh the agony! My evaluation of the concert on a scale of one to ten would have to be somewhere around the negative billions category. The main reason I hated it was because it was a good three and a half hours long. I mean, Death Of A Salesman was hard to stand, but this was just over the limit.”
— Review of the musical Children Of Eden

Teacher question: “How did Bach earn his living?”
Student answer: “Delivered pizza.”

“In the concert, I must say that the choir was the only part that I really liked… One girl… was in the choir singing the Four Sacred Pieces. She was brunette and had a really nice hairstyle. It covered her left side of her face and then it was just an inch or two above the shoulder. Plus, they put her right in the middle of the middle row. She was one hot choir singer and kept my attention throughout the last part of the concert. (And later…) Even though I mentioned this before, I think that it is very important that I mention the brunette girl again. I think she was the key aspect to keeping the concert interesting. She did not solo or do anything obvious, but she was just right there. She had a really nice long black dress, although she was too far away to see what it was like. I liked her hair the most. That was what caught my eye. There she stood tall in the middle. Not anywhere in the middle, but the middle of the middle row where everyone had a good view of her. As I said before, she had her left eye covered by her hair. From afar she looked like a taller version of Gillian Anderson. Now that is awesome! Although the image of her is very faint in my mind, she will be the most interesting person I ever see in a symphony choir. She sang Latin, too, but then again, so did everyone else… If I rated it, I would give it three stars out of five… There are only two reasons for such a high rating. First, it is a really nice place to take a girlfriend or wife and probably impress them too. Second, if that hot woman is still there, it is pretty worth it to go and maybe, if you are lucky enough, to meet her. Other than those two reasons, no one should bother to go.”
A passionate student straying from the standard review criteria a bit in his San Francisco Symphony Concert Review

Deep Questions I Have Been Asked As A Teacher…

“If my dad replaces your computer with a better one, can I get my name off the board?”

“Were you, like, cool, or, like, a geek in high school?”

“Am I tardy?”

“Is this going to be on the test?”

“Where do you buy your clothes?”

“Do you like Abercrombie & Fitch?”

“If you went to Stanford, how come you’re just a music teacher?”

Junior High-Lights…I used to teach junior high too. Here are some of my favorite quotes (among many fantastic quotes) from junior high music concert reviews.

“I also enjoyed the story of The Phantom. It was so sad, that I was left teary eyed, and the only other show that has ever left me teary eyed was The Pokemon Movie, for nobody deserves to sit through that.”
— The Phantom concert review

“I thought that the sets were very important in this play. The set designers and makers did a beautiful job on the sets, and everyone could tell where the actors were pretending to be without the actors saying ‘We are in a cave’ or wherever they were. This is important because it sounds very strange when people keep saying where they are.”
–Aladdin concert review

“The Philharmonica Europa orchestra and the singers will make the theater fill up with old fogies, middle aged people, and even a few young people. The songs will bring back memories and even if you haven’t heard them, you will probably like them. And remember, a truly wise man never plays leapfrog with a unicorn. (Note: the word ‘fogies’ is actually in the dictionary that Microsoft Works uses.)”
— Conclusion to concert review of The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber

“The music was like poetry in that there is no way whatsoever to tell what the piece was about.”
— Concert Review

“I love the Nutcracker, and I always have… Sometimes I try to catch mistakes. I didn’t catch any this time. But that is a good thing, because the ballet practices and practices until you feel sick or something.”
Nutcracker Concert Review

“The stage was shaped like a heart because of the name of the CD: ‘Let’s Talk About Love.’ There were big lights reflecting off of it, and finally Celine appeared, with a strange new hairdo. At first it was exciting when she sang, but then it got more boring and boring.”
Celine Dion Concert Review

“Prokofiev uses a flute to portray the bird in Peter And The Wolf because the flute is flighty, jumpy, and happy, and it depicts someone who is friendly and flying and talkative, like a bird. He uses an oboe to portray the duck because the duck is impertinent and dead. He uses a clarinet to portray the cat because the it sounds quick, sly, and yummy birds! Why? He wants a bird. He uses a bassoon to portray the grandfather because he’s masterly and arrogant. Why? He is the person who has power over Peter, and he knows that. He uses three horns to portray the wolf, because the wolf is stealthy, evil, and sly and snotty. He uses the tympani and bass drum to portray the hunter’s guns, because they’re quiet, then bang! Your dead. They represent the guns really well. And he uses strings to portray Peter because it depicts him skipping and happy and ooh! I get to disobey Grandpa.”
Peter & The Wolf Paper

“Everyone clapped, except for me and some other people with taste… I personally think they should have paid us to go see it. In other words, I didn’t like the music and the acting stunk… The best part was the half an hour of intermission. The play itself was two hours long, and it was two hours too long. I wouldn’t go to it again if it was free.”
Phantom Of The Opera Concert Review


“This is the fourth time I have seen the Phantom of the Opera. I have always loved the show… Unfortunately, (it) will stop playing in December of this year to make room for a new performance. I hope to go and see it once more before it goes away, but I doubt that will happen since my mother, who always brought me there, is tired of it. She says it will return, but that will be in decades.”
Phantom Of The Opera concert review