Saturday, October 02, 2010

Not Liking Zaire's Supposed Singing Teacher, AT ALL!

Second singing class for Zaire, and I got into it with the teacher. First I complained to the school about the fact that 5-9 year old children were in a room with a closed door and no window, alone with an adult, and we, the parents and guardians, were not allowed to be in the room! The school (Los Angeles City College) informed me that it was not the school's policy to have closed doors with minors under the tutelage of an adult without parents in the room. So .... when I informed the parents, we all stayed in the class (the teacher was late, and she didn't even show up for the first class, sending her daughter instead, and there are only five classes!). Well, when the teacher came in and I told her what LACC administration had told me, the bitch actually said she would not teach the children then ... leaving the parents to look at me. I said to her, "hey, you can call the administrative office if you wish and speak to (name withheld) if you want to." She went off on me saying she's been teaching for over 30 years and that she has never allowed the parents in to watch. I said, "well, either we are staying, or the door stays open so we can see and hear what is going on." After a few more words between us, she agreed to leave the door open and let us listen outside, and I even took a desk out of the classroom to sit in, although she made a crack remark to me "well, the surprise of the finale will be no surprise then, since you are watching them rehearse." I just zipped it as already I knew she could not be that good if she really didn't want the parents to watch or hear!

And I was right. First off, this is 2010, ok? And there is one 5 year old, but the other four kids are 7 or 8. The three songs she was teaching them were, get this, Elvis Presley's "Houndog," George M. Cohan's "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and The Beatles' "Octopus Garden." Now, mind you, we are in Los Angeles, an ethnic barrio if there ever was one. Of the five kids in her class, one was Filipino, two were Hispanic, one was mixed Hispanic and Caucasian (I know that only because both the mother and father came and duh), and then Zaire, who is half African American. Ok, NONE of these kids knew these songs. And the mixed Latin family (the dad was not Mexican, but of Spanish background based on his accent) were the only ones that even knew the Beatles song (although the teenage son of one of the Mexican girls - not in the class, sitting outside with me - knew the Beatles song). I think many kind of knew the Elvis song, but pretty much, no one knew "Yankee Doodle Dandy" except me. The Spanish dad was complaining to me about why the teacher wasn't teaching them age appropriate songs, like more children style, I mean, the kids aren't even tweens yet for goodness sake! And, there is a ton of Disney Channel music that is, of course, geared to the tweens, and I know Zaire watches those shows and sings the songs, so I am sure the other 7-8 year old kids watch them as well. I mean, even I watch "Victorious," "I Carly" and "Big Time Rush" and know the songs and singing styles of "that" age group.

I will again call the school on Monday and complain. And I will tell the teacher to her face after the last class that she sucked big time as a teacher. Hell, I might even get all the parents to complain (LOL). Seriously, I have taught kids better. There are a plethora of songs universally recognized for kids that age, which they probably already know, and so if you want to "teach" singing techniques, at least work with a song that the kids already know both the music and the words to. I taught children's classes, singing and playing the uke, as recently as three years ago, and we still sang the old "if you're happy and you know it" kind of songs! We're not talking protege kids here!

I guess you can tell from this rant that I am pretty peeved. The only reason I am not making a statement by pulling Zaire out of the class is that he's enjoying the interaction with the children. In fact, I thought it was funny that when they were singing the Elvis song, he raised his hand and asked the teacher if he could sing it with the "Elvis lip" ha ha ha! I taught him the Elvis Lip because he liked the Sugarland Song "All I Want To Do" (see him lipsynching on his blog or on MyYouTube) and there's a line in there about "give me a kiss from those Elvis lips" and I had to explain to him what "Elvis lips" were!

All I Want To Do


Arno said...

Good for you, and Zaire! (and the other kids!)
Sad that this is a City College-sponsored class, with that kind of teach. But hang in there, if your grandson is enjoying it at this point, it's all good. Plus, I'd dare say he'll be head of the class. Elvis lip---cool!

BTW, I'd love to have a uke. My father and I were talking about Hawai'ian music just a while ago (he was stationed in Hawai'i, San Diego, and the South Pacific in WW2 in a little grass shack).

Carrie said...

I'll mail you one, just email me your address. I'll include sheet music and chord structure so you can easily start playing. It comes with a fabric case, tuner, and screwdriver for string adjustments. Since you play music, you know a G chord, C chord, etc. If you want to tune the uke to another instrument, it should be easy. Like using a capo on a guitar, the uke is easily tunable.

As for Zaire and his Elvis Lips, I had to keep from cracking up for like ten minutes after he asked that question! It was so funny!