Too good to be true

They reorganized all the loud wind classes on Monday night, and
threw me (and a number of other people) out of them.

I shouldn’t have been surprised — I know someone who flew from
Massachusetts to San Francisco to take a cornetto class and they
cancelled it without telling her because not enough people signed

This seems to have been the reverse — they had an unusual
number of brass players sign up, so they hired an extra coach, but
his mother-in-law was dying in Toronto, so he didn’t come. So
instead of making the other brass coaches coach more students, or
finding someone to fill in at the last moment, they just threw
some people out of the classes.

In my case they put me in two recorder classes. One of them
was billed as a Camarata class, so I’m going and playing serpent
and cornetto there, because I assume the people who signed up for
that knew they’d be playing with mixed instruments. It’s not the
best class for me, both because I would learn more about brass
playing from a class with other brass players, coached by a brass
player, and also because the coach is my recorder teacher, and it’s
silly to come to a place full of world-class musicians and work
with someone who lives a mile away from you and gives you a
recorder lesson every week.

The other was billed as a recorder class, and when they posted
the new class assignments, the wrote “Laura Conrad (rec)” with the
rec in red lettering. So I decided I could get more out of taking
third period off and catching up on this blog, and napping and
practicing. I made a point of telling the teacher (also from the
Boston area) that it was nothing personal and I was sure it was a
fine recorder class, except that I didn’t come here for recorder
classes. He was quite sympathetic, and said the students in the
class had been quite excited about having a serpent, and we agreed
I could come try it if I wanted it to, but I’ve decided not

I’ve usually just put up with decisions I didn’t like, and
complained about them to the other students, but this time I
decided to be a squeaky wheel and see if I got any grease.

The person who used to be in charge of class assignments was
sitting at the table when I was explaining my problem to the
current class assignment person, and she told me she thought I’d
given a very good, clear explanation of the problem, but that it
might make sense to also give that kind of explanation directly to the
brass faculty, and eliminate the middleperson. So at afternoon
coffee break I found the cornetto teacher and explained the
problem. He was sympathetic, but not really helpful, but he did
agree that he should be putting some ensemble playing into the
morning cornetto class. I asked him if he thought it made sense to
talk to Wim Becu, and he didn’t say no, but he didn’t say anything
that convinces me the answer is, “Yes”, either. But maybe some
time Wim won’t be surrounded by 10 trombone players and I can ask
him if he knows of a workshop where someone like me could get
brass ensemble experience.

If this had happened on Monday, I would have been frustrated
and disappointed, but not the kind of upset I was with it
happening after the Monday classes. A number of people tried
really hard to make me feel better. The most successful one was a
student who had been in both Monday afternoon classes. He said he
thought both classes with me on Monday afternoon had been really
good, and the class with Wim is still pretty good, but the class
with Steve is much worse without me, and with the new people they
moved into it.

Good things are still happening. The Tuesday night lecture was
a humorous survey of the history of French music, with
illustrations. The viol coach who’s coaching the loud winds in
the “Mass” (long story that I don’t know all of yet, but I may
tell you later) was at a loss for what to do for a loud band
piece, so I suggested the Estocart Psalm CXXXVII that’s on
and he printed it out and printed several other things, so we’ll
probably play some of that.

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