Tag Archives: brahms

“son ate”

So I’m trying to convince Hare that ‘winging it’ is insufficient and he actually has to read the notes on the page when he interrupts:

HareOH! Today we learned about these things in music class!

He draws a picture on top of the page: an eighth note without the head filled in. So I ask him:

Me: Do you know what those are?
Hare: I don’t remember, but they’re really fast.
Me: They’re called eighth notes.
Hare: OH YEAH! Don’t they go like this? (plays one key, a single time, as fast as he can)

Sidenote: if I had a dollar for every time a kid asked if that’s how you play an eighth note, I could retire by now. I have no idea where they get this notion.

Me: There are two eighth notes for every quarter note. Here, let me show you.

I draw him quarter-two eighths-quarter-quarter and play it for him, counting out loud, so he gets the idea. He does it himself.

Hare: But what about this one? (referring to the one he drew)
Me: Well, they have to be filled in, you don’t see open noteheads on eighth notes.
Hare: But they look like this.

Not understanding what he’s talking about, I pull out my Brahms score. Wall-to-wall eighth notes.

Me: Here, look at this. All these are eighth notes.
Hare: Whoa! That’s so many! But what do you do when you see all of these together?
Me: Oh, that’s just six of them stuck together. You know how bar lines make it easier to read? Barring eighth notes in bigger groups help you read them faster.
Hare: (scouring score) THERE! That’s what I was talking about! (points to a single eighth note – with a flag!)
Me: Ah, yes! when there’s only one of them, they look like that. But if there’s more than one, they join them together.
Hare: Can you play this for me?
Me: No, I’m not playing it for you.
Hare: Why not?!
Me: Well, first, I’d need a violinist…
Hare: There’s a violinist here! (referring to another teacher at the studio)
Me: Well, I don’t know if he knows it, and I’m not going to ask him. And on top of that, this piece is ten minutes long.
Me: Yeah. And that’s only the first movement. It’s like… the first chapter.
Hare: Well how many are there?
Me: Three.
Me: Roughly.
Hare: You play for 30 minutes?
Me: Yes, regularly.
Hare: Wow, I’m gonna look it up! Is it on YouTube?
Me: Yes.
Hare: Okay. “Son Ate.” That’s how I’m gonna remember it. S-O-N-A-T-E. Son ate. (the score was German). (Very clever! But…)
Me: As much as that’s a great idea, you actually can’t look it up like that.
Hare: But why!? That’s the name of the song! (Yeah, song.)
Me: Yeah, but that’s a generic title. If you typed that into YouTube you wouldn’t find it. That would be like going to the library and asking for “book”.
Hare: (laughing) Okay okay I get it. So what do I look up?
Me: (writing a sticky note) Just type this in exactly: “Brahms Sonata Op. 78” and you’ll find it no problem. It’s incredibly pretty.
Hare: Okay I will!

I hope he actually listens to it.

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