Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

This blog will be written from an orthodox Christian point of view. There may be some topic that is out of bounds, but at present I don't know what it will be. Politics is a part of life. Theology and philosophy are disciplines that we all participate in even if we don't think so. The Bible has a lot to say about economics. How about self defense? Is war ethical? Think of all the things that someone tells you we should not touch and let's give it a try. Everything that is a part of life should be an expression of worship.

Keep it courteous and be kind to those less blessed than you, but by all means don't worry about agreeing. We learn more when we get backed into a corner.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Opus 2012-279, On the Street: National Anthem Style

Every year around Thanksgiving two of the high schools in our town have an annual football game which they call the Turkey Tussle.  It is a local version of the USC/UCLA game.  At the middle school where I teach the kids compete in a flag football game that they call the Tweety Tussle.  Every year has a different feel.  This year was good fun with one team having a QB/Deep Receiver combo that would have done some high schools proud.

What I will always remember about the day is the singing of the National Anthem.  A young lady did the honors and sang it A Capella.  It was soon clear to me why.  She had a nice voice and started off, sounding good.  Then she came to a note that was out of her range.  Without a pause of any kind she changed keys and kept singing.  Then she reach a note that was out of her range.  She changed keys again.  The entire song went this way.  She never sang more than three or four measures without changing keys.  Within each segment everything was in the proper place.  I found it very jarring, but I am used to working with kids.  They have to learn somewhere. 

The problem I saw is the same one I see in public education.  There was not teaching going on.  It was all about self esteem.  I would guess that most of the adults and kids are so musically illiterate that they did not even notice the problem.  They cheered like a bunch of blue hairs when Kate Smith sang “God Bless America.”  The child went away thinking she had done a great job.

We don’t want to make kids stretch to do it right.  It is all about feeling good about whatever you do.  Excellence and achievement are things of the past.  We talk about rigor and change keys every few beats.  We talk about having high standards and simplify the vocabulary of every new edition of text book.  We talk about progress but don’t study history because we would find out that we are really going backward.

I think of that young lady who was singing.  With the proper training and a rigorous practice schedule she could broaden her range and be proud of her achievements.  Now she feels good but someday she will need to sing with a piano and it won’t change keys.

I think we ought to find the oldest breathing retired teachers and put them in charge of all our school districts with dictatorial powers.    Harsh discipline and repetition might be painful in the short run but would pay off in the long haul.

Whatever we are doing now isn’t working. 

homo unius libri

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Comments are welcome. Feel free to agree or disagree but keep it clean, courteous and short. I heard some shorthand on a podcast: TLDR, Too long, didn't read.