Catching Up: Lesson Scheduling Edition

Look, I’m back! So soon! It’s a late-February miracle.

I’ll admit, I feel bad for not blogging. Every time I ask myself why I’m no longer a frequent and exciting blogger, my immediate thought is “because my life is BORING” which is…not true, exactly! Perhaps my life is not so academically challenging OR performance intensive as it has been for the past however-many years, but there are still things in it worth sharing — in fact, I have a short mental list of subjects worth blabbing about, even if some part of me brain keeps telling me they’re all extremely unexciting. I mean, come on. Shouldn’t I consider the possibility that maybe my life was never all that exciting to begin with?

Anyway, let’s start here: I have twelve cello students and between that and regular gigs my schedule is a total CLUSTERFUCK.

It’s not like teaching twelve students takes up all that much time when you add them all up, especially compared to regular 9-5 weekday jobs. It’s not like I have school or another job to work my students around, the way I know lots of other teachers of music do. It’s not like I don’t get decent money for those twelve students or that I don’t enjoy the teaching. And I assure you, it’s definitely not that I’m UNGRATEFUL for this work when I know that times are tough and that other young musicians are struggling for teaching and gigging work. Truly, I am one lucky bastard. It’s more like…the hours are crazy irregular and scattered at idiotically random times throughout the week, not to mention all but one of my lessons occurs after 3pm on any given day of teaching, and all of this makes for a schedule that is just STUPID, and one in which I don’t get a whole lot of anything else done, especially not cello practicing. Right now I’m teaching at least one student every day of the week except for Thursday (and Saturday, though I’ve had to squeeze make-up lessons into that day for the past few weeks). I’m also teaching from two different locations — my home and a music store, which has been more frustrating in coordinating same-day lesson times than I care to describe.

I’ll fess up: this crap is nearly entirely my fault. I’m the one in control of my schedule, so how is it possible for me to let things to get so stupid and out of control? Well, okay, two reasons: 1) I started off with five students who all came to my home. I taught their lessons one right after the other, three on Tuesday and two on Wednesday, and this was EAAASY and a wonderful arrangement that was never really interrupted gigs or other life-happenings. Then, at the beginning of last month 10 new students basically threw themselves in front of me as if I was a moving cello-teaching train, all in the span of about a week. I never, ever expected that I’d have students more than trickling in one-at-a-time, and so I wasn’t prepared for the massive week-long scheduling party and subsequent hangover that took place. Trying to figure out where to put all these lessons was complete madness, especially while attempting to keep in mind which days and times I should avoid in order to be able to teach AND make all gigs without having to cancel most lessons every week. I actually thank god or whatever that three of the 10 students I should have started teaching decided that a transition period between teachers was actually the perfect time to quit cello entirely. The downside, however, is that those people who scheduled lessons and then quit left gaping holes in my teaching schedule, and those gaping holes are…annoying! As hell!

Then we come to reason Talia is stupid at scheduling No. 2) I am accommodating to a fault. I started off all “YES I would love to teach ANY TIME YOU ARE FREE TELL ME WHEN I CAN TEACH YOU PAID WORK OMGGGG,” which was a big mistake. Biiiig mistake. I couldn’t help it. I wanted to accommodate the hell out of everyone. I wanted to be helpful and make things work for every schedule. Unfortunately, with an attitude like this it’s possible to be a little bit walked all over by parents and students who are busy or even just picky about when they wish to have cello lessons. I guess I got to learn this the hard way. It’s as though I was simply asking for people to walk all over me, in fact, and it resulted in such a stupid, stupid weekly schedule. It’s taken a little while, but I think I’m figuring out how to be a defensive scheduler and not compromise hours of non-teaching, which unfortunately is probably going to result in me not being able to give lessons to new-comers who might only be available at certain times, but MAYBE THAT’S NOT A BAD THING. I’m also trying to bunch all lesson together so I don’t have ridiculous, idiotic slots of time between lessons in which I don’t have time to do much of anything except twiddle my thumbs and worry about what I might do or say in said upcoming lesson. It would be my dream to teach for a certain number of hours each day with no gaps in between students unless it’s for something like…eating. If my ultimate scheduling plan works, I’ll be able to move all lessons to Sundays (for some reason Sundays are absolutely the best teaching days), Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so that then I’ll have some days in a ROW in which I don’t teach at all. So I can get other things done. So I can get the hell out of Normal, IL for a day or two.

So there you have it. Blog entry about lesson scheduling. Why, Talia? Why?

Teaching itself is another story! For another time!

Let’s Watch, Won’t We?

No, I’m not dead.

Yes, I’m obsessed with the following television programs: A) Parks and Recreation B) Party Down

What.

I’ve never thought of myself as much of a TV watcher, and I still don’t despite a solid handful of shows that I would call myself a serious fan of. But sometimes I just get obsessive over…things, especially when my life is repetitive and unexciting. Big surprise, I know. For the longest time my TV obsession was The Office, and for good reason as for a good three years it was probably the best comedy on television. In turn, as such a big fan of The Office I wound up being pretty leery of the other NBC Thursday Night shows that sounded like potential boring spin-off/copy-cat, Parks and Recreation in particular. I mean, come on…mockumentary-style filming with a premise of incompetent boss who has real responsibilities with disrespectful and/or kind of idiotic co-workers, written and produced by many of the same people who did The Office? That’s not going to be terrible or anything. Well, it turns out that I was wrong. Parks and Rec is good. SO good, in fact. As good as The Office in its heyday. And after watching all 2.5 seasons of the show I can say that maybe it didn’t start off so wonderfully amazingly great, but starting from Season 2 it becomes wonderful and magical and only related to The Office through similar mockumentary style and the same producers/writers. I mean, where to start with the reasons that I adore this show? I guess with Amy Poehler, who is and has always been a magical human being (I’ve known this on some level since being slightly corrupted by Upright Citizens Brigade at a youngish age). I also think the writers and producers know what they’re doing, and that maybe they’ve learned from mistakes that came from the slow inward collapse of The Office, which, let’s face it, has run out of pizzazz. And steam. I think there were amazing and really truly delightful things about The Office, but those things were over-run by gimmicks and caricatures and really just too many years of production for a show that was pretty darn limited to an OFFICE OH MY GOD IT’S JUST AN OFFICE. This has officially turned into a passive-aggressive rant about how they need to cancel The Office. You hear that, NBC??!

Also a Parks and Rec A+ would have to be the GUEST STARS. Because really, this show had me at Louis CK as a love interest for Amy Poehler’s character. WHO DOES THAT?! This show, that’s who.

I could go on. And on. And maybe on some more. To conclude. I love Parks and Rec. And maybe you do, too. If so, let’s be friends. If not, I guess we can still be friends. I’ll allow it.

There is also this little old show called Party Down, which I breezed through all two seasons of in the span of maybe three days? Also so good. Cancelled, but so good and all available on Netflix Instant Streaming, and in some ways I think two seasons gave the show a decent opportunity to shine. YOU SHOULD GO WATCH IT RIGHT NOW DO IT RIGHT NOW.

I should mention that the common denominator of both these shows is Adam Scott, who plays Ben on Parks and Rec, and Henry on Party Down, who I now happen to have a ridiculous crush on. Seriously. Ridiculous crush on Adam Scott: affirmative.

So that’s what’s up with me.

But enough about me. Let’s talk about you.

Okay, let’s talk about me again.

Haha, just kidding. Bye for another month.