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November 06, 2013


That is fantastic. Thank you for sharing :-)

I saw the Old Blind Dogs once at the NH Scottish fest and they were lovely and I bought the CD and listened to it for quite some time. Love. Now must make sure that you are familiar with Great Big Sea - yes? Old Black Rum and Excursion Around the Bay are killer.

As is Patrick. He KILLS me. I love him. He is ahead of his time, methinks.

Teachers honestly don't get paid enough to deal with any students (never mind 1/2 their parents - clearly you are in the half that understands)

Have you tried him with Bach? Try Art of Fugue, easily found streaming online. Tell him it's music for people who love math and hate songs.

Do you think his hatred of movies has anything to do with the fact that his head is almost always infected and he maybe doesn't hear it the way we hear it?

How in the heck does one dance like the moon? I mean trees with wind, okay...boring dance but doable. But the moon???

Okay, so what's this math/music rule of which you speak? I love math and am ridiculously good at it. And while I don't actively dislike music, and usually fire up Led Zeppelin or Meatloaf or the like to do housework by, I could happily live without it.

I rarely have music on at home, *never* listen to it in the car (& in fact find being in a car when someone has the radio on to be actually uncomfortable), don't own an iPod or anything related to them & would rather have splinters shoved under my fingernails than wear headphones with music blasting into my head & once quit a job 2 days after getting it because my boss had a radio turned on all day long & it was either quit or smash the thing & get fired anyway.

And I absolutely detest -- detest! -- musicals. To be watching a story (movie/stage production/whatever) & have everyone suddenly burst into song drives me quite mad.

I'm delighted to learn that I'm not alone -- hi, Patrick! But this is related to my fondness for math how . . . ?

I must say, first, I'd be darned ticked at the teacher for telling the kids to do interpretive dance and THEN telling them no, that particular interpretive dance wasn't what she had in mind. (though to be fair, it seems fairly likely the Charleston might have had a great deal of "attitude" added on! LOL!)

I wonder if Patrick just hasn't heard "his" music yet. Also he might actually have a very finely tuned musical sense and find anything discordant or even slightly out of tune unpleasant to listen to. I thought I hated opera... until I heard my first CD of really GOOD opera singers (like Kiri te Kanawa, etc.). Until then the only opera singers I'd been exposed to were the, ahem! homegrown variety. When I finally heard the good stuff, it was a revelation! I hope perhaps Patrick might experience a similar revelation someday. :)

I had the same thought as Hetty... he'll probably find the exquisite music that floats his boat one day -just might not be able to tolerate anything less than perfection! And his dance? How awesome. Humour and imagination make the best disdain :-)

So, it goes without saying teachers are not paid nearly enough for dealing with sixth graders. On the other hand, I'm sort of amazed that she thought it was a good idea to have anyone over the age of six get up and dance like trees or moon. Alone. In front of their singing peers. I cringed as soon as I read the description. Imagining myself doing that is painful, much less my 6th grade self.... No, that sounds like an assignment for preschoolers or dance students.

Out of curiosity, I asked my three year old to do it. She originally told me she didn't know how to dance like a tree, and then decided to do it. It looks suspiciously like her princess ball dancing. She then asked me to dance while she sang. How did I not see that coming?

Aye aye aye, I nearly had a panic attack at the thought of getting up and dancing by myself in front of my peers. And interpretive dance to boot.

Meanwhile I love a kid who spills everything when he gets in the car. My oldest was like that. With my youngest it's like mining for gold.

I would be laughing at loud until I cried if it weren't for the fact that today is one of the rare days when all three of my officemates are in.

I am pleased that I'm not the only who has a child that prefers it when their mom doesn't sing. The first time I tried to calm Gwen down by singing to her -- it worked, but according to her face it wasn't because it was relaxing and calming but because it was so fascinatingly horrifying that she forgot what was ailing her and stared at me with a terrible rictus on her face instead.

I did NOT see that coming.

My son, very similar to Patrick in many ways, also pretty much hates all music. He's also a math-head. This year, however, he's decided he doesn't hate instrumental music (haaaaates singing), and the recorder has been a huge surprise since we figured it'd be a huge deal (loud, sudden noise + music?!) and he's *loved* it.

His love of instrumental music, btw, started when my husband discovered loads of video game music that can stream online. A lot of it is really, startlingly good (classically orchestrated) and very listenable. Our boys love hearing games they've played or watched Daddy play. Maybe find him some soothing Minecraft music?

I also think that teacher is horrid for sending him out into the hallway. She instructs, he resists, she cajoles, he reluctantly complies, he's punished. WTH?

Not at all impressed with that teacher. Yikes.

Reminds me of the creative writing teacher i had in high school. The assignment was a short science fiction story. Mine featured aliens encountered by a human girl (because, you know, sci fi?). She told me, voice dripping with disdain, that *she* didn't believe aliens could *possibly* look the way i described them. And she gave me a C. Mortifying for a teen who had never had less than an A for any piece of writing.

My children, on hearing me relate this, opined that perhaps she herself was an alien, and so she knew whereof she spoke ....

But Patrick ... Ah, he has my utmost sympathy.

Yes teachers do not get paid nearly enough for what they do. But seriously, that's the worst assignment for sixth graders I can possibly imagine. I would have been mortified to have to do that in sixth grade and I was in DANCE. And then to get in trouble because she said to do what they wanted? What did she expect?

That teacher should be fired. Out.

I wonder if music sounds different to him since he has sinus infections so often? Poor thing may not be hearing sounds clearly.

Too bad he didn't finish it off with some jazz hands!

Ha! Brilliant, Patrick. Absolutely brilliant.

That teacher has an awfully low threshold for "inappropriate" behavior. Twerking, *maybe*... Charleston, no.(Also, yes, worst assignment ever.)

I also don't understand your reference to math/music. I am ridiculously good at math (math minor/engineer, etc.) but also love music and play both piano and classical guitar as well as have a love of singing.

I agree with those who have said that perhaps Patrick hasn't yet found his muse. My son (same age as Patrick) is also very good at math and though in the past has eschewed any possibility of playing the piano (*sadface*) has totally embraced and loves playing the clarinet.

Dying. I love Patrick so much.

I'm a music teacher and spent 8 years of my career teaching middle school. There's NO WAY I would ask my 6th graders to dance like trees. I might have them learn line or circle dances that didn't involve anyone touching each other or crazy clapping games - but not interpretive dance. I laughed SO hard at your description of Patrick. If it makes you feel better, both my husband and I have Masters degrees in music and we're both singers. Our 10 year old HATES to sing (and I'm his music teacher) and hates nearly all recorded music (except excellent classical compositions, preferably by Russians in the mid-1800's and Tuvaan throat singers). I guess that puts me in the camp of people that think that maybe Patrick hasn't yet found the music that "speaks" to him.

If presented with a class of 6th graders in music, I may myself say something along the lines of "interpretive dance" so that I can recover from my hangover or have a day without off key instruments and drums. But the charleston is a perfectly acceptable dance for any occasion. I disagree with music teacher on that point.

Also, I hope you get paid for the clicks on the side ads because my 3 year old has been chatting about seeing the frozen princess movie for week now and because I didn't see it pop up behind this screen I hit the ad about a dozen times. I will gladly do it a dozen more if you get paid for those clicks.

Old Blind Dogs! God, I love them. There's something about Jonny Hardie's voice that turns me to mush. (Though there's nothing about his physical appearance that does!) I saw them at The Cedar a few years back -- it was a blast.

Loved the build up and the twist ending. The Charleston. Wow.

I'm so confused.

How is the charleston inappropriate?

And yes, teaching is a thankless and underpaid job, but why did she ask sixth graders to dance ALONE, in front of their peers, in an INTERPRETIVE manner, and then send someone out of the class because his interpretation was wrong?

Was she assuming he was mocking her assignment? Because ... well, she's the one who asked them to dance like trees or the moon for frick's sake.

Trees could move like the charleston in a hurricane. I'm just saying.

Has he heard any humorous music? The one song that immediately comes to mind is Lyle Lovett's Here I AM.

Since its half talking, and very funny if you listen, he might like it alot.

I did an outloud guffaw on that last line. That, right there, is the reason I read this blog. Brava, Julia.

Interpretive dance in front of my classmates? I would have died. Patrick did well, I think, just managing to move at all.

My 4 yr old daughter LOVES music and dancing, but she has a friend who HATES it. It's always a point of contention during play dates when she wants to dance and he refuses to play along.

Worst. Assignment. Ever. Who is their right underpaid mind thinks of dancing like a tree or the moon is going to inspire 6th graders to anything other than the Charleston?

Oh, what a cad! I, like, love you.

That is a pretty awful assignment. I really wonder what the teacher was thinking. In response to all of the commenters that think the teacher should be fired, I must comment that I also wonder if maybe, just perhaps, there's a slim hint of a whisper of a possibility that Patrick was leaving some details out of the story. Teachers CAN be unreasonable, but then again, sixth graders pretty much make a career out of being disrespectful, so I'm not sure that anyone should leap to conclusions here.

Agree, pretty awful assignment, if that's the full story. You haven't written for some time about Patrick's current school situation and whether it is giving him everything he needs. (Although I think you have mentioned that he does not put a lot of effort into assignments?) Also, what of Miss Caroline? Surely she is going to need a special snowflake placement, or do you think that given her personality, something can be worked out with supplements for regular school?

I love everything about this post.

I am a mathematician and not a fan of the song either. I like the puzzle of playing an instrument myself...but do not tend to like hearing other people sing. Humming is the worst. My mom hummed my whole childhood, insisting that it was so quiet that I couldn't hear her...even when I would say "could you stop humming [specific song]". And now my oldest boy is a hummer. Makes me nuts. My nails on a chalkboard (a sound that actually doesn't bother me, thankfully, as a math professor).

I remember "silent like an E." Ah, Patrick! Does he know he has a whole fan club out here in your virtual peanut gallery? :)

I hope you've had a better day today.

We can stipulate that teachers don't get paid (or appreciated) nearly enough. Period.

Having said that, I LOVE PATRICK! And it makes me kind of sad that his teacher didn't realize how awesome his doing the Charleston was. <-- I know my grammar is awful there; but I don't actually know how to fix it.

I also wonder what on earth that teacher was thinking asking kids to dance like the wind, trees, or moon. I'd have been as disgusted as Patrick was if I had to do that as a sixth grader!

Poor Patrick, I would have died a thousand deaths if I had to dance in front of anyone, let alone my entire class! I have to agree with Sara above though, possibly Patrick left out just a little bit of the scenario. I know 6th, 7th and 8th graders very well! 12 years at the middle school level. Especially a 6th grader who is mortified to dance in front of peers. Sometimes the sillies tend to come out and maybe his behavior was inappropriate, not the dance. Gotta love Patrick! He is one in a million. All of your children are full of personality.

I hate any music that is not perfectly in tune. So Grade School music was always tortuous for me. Scottish music may also be slightly a bit 'tweeddly'...

Has Patrick see Cello Wars? That might pique his interest..

well, teachers do not get paid anywhere near enough, obviously, but also that teacher is an idiot.

For people not understanding Julia's math/music comment: It has been studied and widely accepted that those who have a love and apptitude for math also have a love and apptitude for music. It coorelates in the brain somehow. Also, it is believed that if you are having trouble with math, learning an instrument or doing something with music will help with the math stuff. Oberlin College in Ohio is the best example I can think of as it has high standards for both math and music - many students there dip their toe in both. #justmrtwocents

Thank you for this. I also hate music, always have (and I've never had a sinus infection in my life). I can hear the sounds just fine, that's the problem! Shopping used to be a form of torture until online shopping relieved me of much of the need to do it in a store. Elevator music prompts me to take the stairs. I'm frankly delighted that the advent of the ipod meant that so many more people kept the "soundtrack of their lives" to themselves. Now if only grocery stores would clean up their act . . .
Music hater, out and proud.

I sang my son to sleep when he was a baby right up until he learned how to talk well enought to tell me "Mummy, don't sing, I don't like it" Poor kid had been putting up with it for two years.

He still doesn't like singing/musicals. He has a general dislike of noise though so it is related to that.

I play the clarinet pretty well but don't love music like most people. I like the disciple of practice and the mathematical nature of written music.

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