The Incredible Fortitude of Basement Music Teachers

life Oct 21, 2020

I gotta say, this pandemic has really shined a light on how many music teachers are creative rockstars.

I mean, conducting the band, brady-bunching the horn sections properly with Zoom, dealing with crummy latency and crap connections, and actually producing a cohesive song is a bit astounding.

It is damn impressive.

Monica, my eldest, recently re-enrolled in Finneytown Local Schools. Finneytown has an orchestra (and a tradition of loving the arts). Some years ago, she took up the cello (naturally, as Renee and I played it in High School) but gave it up when transferring to Milford. She was excited to return to the best instrument of all time.

In a classic “yes, we’re juggling life” moment, she ran into the home office in a panic as I was both on a work conference call AND setting up a doctor’s session for her sibling.

“Papi, I NEED TO BE PLAYING in the orchestra RIGHT NOW. Where is the cello?”

Our house sometimes resembles a massive middle school locker with the accoutrements and detritus of education stuffed into corners. Which is to say, I had no idea. Also, I was busy.

“I don’t know. Your responsibility sweetheart. Maybe stay up on your schedule?” Then, in keeping with the locker analogy, I said, “Check the basement, under the stairs; it’s probably buried like an old pair of gym shorts.”

Five minutes later I could hear a G scale - only moderately out of tune - cranking through the basement walls.

This is how we do it.

Later that afternoon, I stumbled downstairs with a load of laundry and wearing ratty gym clothes. This oddly felt like the appropriate Covid-19 attire during a virtual concert. Diego kicked off a solo trombone act (Or maybe it wasn’t solo? Hard to tell with latency and the sound) with the direct gaze of his music teacher focused on his technique (At least I hoped the gaze was directed at the technique and not a dark basement that served as the kids’ pigpen).

You know what? They sounded awesome! Which is a happy testament to the incredibly talented teachers at Milford Village School District.

Anyways. Shoutouts of praise to music teachers. I’m sure this is insanely hard. But I am so very grateful for your adaptability.


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