Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Some Things DO Change

It’s been thirty years since I was an undergraduate in a college music department, but after all these years, I’m back. I’ve been taking private voice lessons from an instructor at a school for the performing arts in Chicago and really enjoying it. (I’m now singing countertenor in the church choir at the Episcopal cathedral.)

Anyway, the other night, my voice teacher said that he had to attend a student’s recital in order to proctor it. After culling my distant memory, I was able to recall what “proctoring a recital” meant.

Students majoring in music are required to attend at least ten performances every semester as part of their music education. I remembered having to do this: You attend a performance or recital and afterward, you look for the teacher who’s proctoring the recital. You rush up to him immediately afterward and he initials and dates your recital card, documenting that you were there. At the end of each semester, you have to turn in your card showing that you attended at least ten performances.

It’s a means of ensuring that every music student is exposed to -- – music. (And also ensuring that every student’s recital has at least a spattering of people in attendance.)

So, my voice teacher had to proctor a recital last night. It brought back memories of frantically searching for the proctor who would document my attendance. Some things never change.

However, he said that things have changed considerably since then. He said that students nowadays will sit through an entire performance and . . . are you ready for this. . . .
text the whole time.


I was incredulous. I just couldn’t believe the audacity of these kids – music students – who lack the self-control to keep from texting during a recital.

These are aspiring artists for crying out loud; yet they feel it’s acceptable to do something inane as texting during the very thing they’re aspiring to do!

My voice teacher said that if he sees a student texting during a recital, he refuses to initial their card.


If some kid was texting during my performance, I’d stop, walk down and confront the little bastard right there.

And all his friends would suddenly be texting OMG and WTF.

Sigh. . .


At 8:44 AM , Blogger Bob said...

I'd go Patti LuPone on 'em!


At 10:18 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember those days! We didn't have proctors but we had to turn in programs from the recitals. We'd take turns going and grabbing a handful of programs to share with our friends. (The closest thing to "cheating" that I did in college"!)

I performed eight different solo recitals and I once addressed the audience between movements and asked them to close a door that had been propped open because the noise from the hallway outside was distracting. I'm confident that texters would be ejected in a most snarkily fabulous manner from any of my performances!

Have fun in class!

At 2:40 PM , Blogger William V. Madison said...

Already I'm notorious among for freaking out when people talk during the opera. This would drive me to homicide, I'm sure.

At 3:12 PM , Blogger Miss Healthypants said... make me laugh, Dooder...but yeah, that texting is pretty sad, pretty sad indeed.

At 7:11 PM , Blogger Jacob Woods said...

The nice thing about this world is, those students who decide to text, don't do as well. If they don't consume the music and focus on the musical composure and analyze it from a musicians perspective, they will not become succesful in their endevors. They may at most become public school directors. Which isn't all that bad. But they won't become famous! I can bet that much. I play piano! And I love every minute of it. But I don't pursue music because I feel I can seek out my own musical education without paying for it in college.

At 2:25 PM , Blogger Margaret S said...

We hosted a French college student this August - and she was shocked that my high schooler (and her friends) texted constantly - in cars, watching movies, having coffee, sitting at the beach - she told me they were not really living, they just wanted their friends to think they were.


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