Sunday, September 21, 2008

Free Book, It's All in the Mind, & Republicans

image I have a free book to giveaway: Wendy Roberts' The Remains of the Dead. It's autographed, just for me to give away on my blog (eight months ago--*blush*).

How about this? If you want to be entered into the drawing, just say "enter me!" at the end of your comment.

The series is fabulous: It's about the owner of a crime scene clean up company who can see dead people, specifically the victims.


(I just got rid of another three bags of books to donate. How did I accumulate so many books? My shelves are still full, and I've gotten rid of 7 big black bags.)

Anyway, I find it fascinating in piano teaching: I can go through a whole piece and stuff it in their memory in forty minutes of their lesson, and yet some students can practice for hours and not get it at home. Even after they did it in the lesson.

And I've got a couple very talented fifth-graders who are struggling to do a bit of technique that takes a couple second-graders 15 minutes, that takes other fourth- and fifth-graders 15 minutes, but they can't seem to do it in 40.

It's really sort of bizarre to me. For something that takes us 5 minutes in a lesson can take 40 minutes by themselves. And I'm a Look It Up in the Dictionary type teacher. I never show them anything.

So it continues to perplex me.

My latest theory is the fact that I KNOW they can. Without a doubt. Not a single doubt. Not even the foggiest.

They, on the other hand, fear they can't. Their parents aren't sure they can, are worried whether they can or not. They're "first children," so there's a bit of a disadvantage: they haven't seen an older brother or sister do it before, so no one's showed them it's possible. So it's harder. MUCH harder.

That's my theory. I don't know. I really don't know.

Piano lessons are private, so we go at the student's pace. (Or mine, LOL.) And it continues to amaze me how they can limit themselves severely and hold themselves back, simply by what they believe (or don't believe) they can do.

On another note, I thought I'd leave you with this shining example of the Republican philosophy. I think this video speaks well to the Republican approach to the world. Am I wrong?

52 bonus scribbles:

Barrie 9/21/2008 03:33:00 PM  

I have a child in private piano lessons. She's a beginner. Eight years old. How much she's willing to risk actually varies from week to week. Also, don't enter me in the contest. I've read the book and would rather you passed the pleasure (good book) onto someone who hasn't. ;)

Kath Calarco 9/21/2008 04:57:00 PM  

Spy, thanks for sharing the video - shades of Kent State and Tiananmen Square. How sad but oh so true.

P.S. Enter Me! Sounds like a great read.

Edie 9/21/2008 07:02:00 PM  

OMG! It's freaky that the police arrested all those people for congregating in a park. Someone had to have ordered them to do it. I wonder who and what they were thinking.

About the lessons, I need to be SHOWN before I can do anything. Maybe it's the mirror neurons thing.

The book sounds great! Enter me!

writtenwyrdd 9/21/2008 08:03:00 PM  

It had to have been ordered by the mayor, but as to any broad hints from above....? I seem to recall hearing that the arrests were after these folks had a permit to assemble, too, but I am not sure on that point.

writtenwyrdd 9/21/2008 08:03:00 PM  

PS, don't enter me. While I adore more books, I have a stack of over 140 that I haven't yet read.

Susan Helene Gottfried 9/21/2008 08:25:00 PM  

I posted this over at Win a Book, more to bring attention to you and your awesomeness than to brag about your contest. That's a mere pretense; you're an essential part in this community thing as I envision it.

Ginny 9/21/2008 08:45:00 PM  

Enter me in this contest, this book totally sounds like something I'd love!

I've seen that video, crazy isn't it!

Your theory on the piano sounds good. My girls do dance, not music so not sure. Sounds pretty good though, I can see that happening.

Aimless Writer 9/21/2008 10:21:00 PM  

Scary video. Who ordered this? Did they have a reason? Sheesh!

Both my kids are muscians. One is attached to her guitar and plays a little piano. Her voice is her main instrument. The other played some trumpet and french horn. She dabbles in the piano and took lessons in college. They show me stuff and the next day I'm like a blank slate again...I understand your kids. lol

The book looks great! Enter me :)

Dube 9/21/2008 10:27:00 PM  

Oh gosh, I'm a Republican and that's not my idea of a good time! But then again, the Republican party annoys me so much sometimes these days. Sigh.

mom2brie,  9/22/2008 01:01:00 AM  

In regards to the video - here's an interesting tidbit from Newsweek:

"After the fuss over the number of residences owned by the two presidential nominees, NEWSWEEK looked into the candidates' cars. And based on public vehicle-registration records, here's the score. John and Cindy McCain: 13. Barack and Michelle Obama: one."

Hmm, I wonder which candidate is out for the interests of the rich and which one wants to lower the taxes of 95% of Americans and only increase the taxes of the 5% wealthiest!?!

Zoe Winters 9/22/2008 08:24:00 AM  

that is so fucked up. I HATE this country. I can't convey that enough. I want out. I want to go somewhere where people just LEAVE PEOPLE ALONE.

THis crap terrifies me. I don't go out a lot.

Bernita 9/22/2008 09:22:00 AM  

Belief and confidence are big success factors.
Please (pleaseplease) enter me.

Melanie Avila 9/22/2008 11:26:00 AM  

I HATED it when my mom always made me look up words in the dictionary. I'd always whine "but you knooooooow."

LOL, enter me. :)

Melanie Avila 9/22/2008 11:28:00 AM  

Zoe, the problem with living in a country where they leave people alone is you're REALLY on your own. My brother in law has mental problems and needs to be institutionalized occasionally, but there isn't an agency that pays for it if you cannot. Instead our family, most of which live in homes without running water, have to scrounge to pay for his treatment.

There's a flip side to everything.

spyscribbler 9/22/2008 01:22:00 PM  

Barrie, that's funny. It's a strange thing, piano lessons. They bring out every issue and fear they have about learning!

spyscribbler 9/22/2008 01:22:00 PM  

Scary, Kath. Definitely Scary!

spyscribbler 9/22/2008 01:25:00 PM  

Edie, and we have a right to congregate. It's in one of our foundational rights, I forget which one! I'm blaming the Republican party. It was the Republican National Convention, after all!

Totally get about showing. I'm referring to reading. I'm showed them how to read music, now it's up to them to actually do it. They get so lazy! They just want to say I can't figure it out. When they get to their lesson, I just ask is it on a line or space? Which line or space? Count up from the bottom line.

So I'm saying I don't show them what notes to play. They have to read the music on their own.

spyscribbler 9/22/2008 01:26:00 PM  

Writtenwyrrd, I've found a bunch of random articles on newspapers. The official word is just there will be no inquiry into the matter.


spyscribbler 9/22/2008 01:27:00 PM  

Thank you, Susan! I appreciate it, I really do! :-) And sheesh, totally blushing.

spyscribbler 9/22/2008 01:28:00 PM  

Ginny, that sounds like fun! I always wanted to dance, growing up. :-)

spyscribbler 9/22/2008 01:30:00 PM  

Aimless, I have a student who's like that: a blank slate the next day. She's very smart, too! It's funny. With her, I think she relaxes SO much when playing, that, um, she's relaxed beyond thinking!

Last I checked, there's going to be no inquiry into the matter. *scowl*

spyscribbler 9/22/2008 01:31:00 PM  

Dube, a lot of Republicans are saying that. It's a tough time; a lot of hopes and fears are riding around the outcome of this election.

spyscribbler 9/22/2008 01:32:00 PM  

Mom2brie, WOW! What in the world would you do with 13 cars! DH and I are two people and only use 1 car. Even when we had 2!

spyscribbler 9/22/2008 01:32:00 PM  

Bernita, you're so right!

spyscribbler 9/22/2008 01:34:00 PM  

LOL, Melanie! I know, I'm evil.

And great point about the flip side. It's a tough line. I definitely want us to have health care. If Canada and other European countries can do it, we can too.

StarvingWriteNow 9/22/2008 02:05:00 PM  

I've been trying to figure out a comment to the video all morning and I just can't come up with anything. That film makes me sad and scared and angry... I just don't know what to think about this country any more.

Becca 9/22/2008 02:06:00 PM  

I started taking sax lessons as an adult and there have been plenty of times when my instructor has explained things to me and they made perfect sense and I could do them just fine but then I go home and blow on the thing like I’ve never even seen a sax before. So unfortunately it isn’t just fifth graders.

P.S. Please enter me!

spyscribbler 9/22/2008 02:53:00 PM  

Ohmigosh, amen, Writenow! That's EXACTLY how I felt. I couldn't put it into words, but that's it exactly! The changes in the last eight years are HUGE, when you look back on it.

spyscribbler 9/22/2008 02:55:00 PM  

LOL, Becca. It's funky. It's perplexing to me. I guess because I tend to assume I don't do much at all but guide a little. It's just the hugeness of the difference that confuses me.

Maybe I'll see when I take up the cello, LOL! :-)

Robin 9/22/2008 03:48:00 PM  

When my kids say, "I can't figure it out," I immediately translate in my mind to, "I'm a lazy little twirp and I'd rather be playing Pokemon with my friend than looking at your stupid assignment, so just tell me what to do (Mom, Lady, Teacher)"
Definitely enter me!

spyscribbler 9/22/2008 04:05:00 PM  

Robin, YES! That's exactly what I hear, too! Except I've come to realize it's not so. I do tend to suspect a certain laziness of mind, though! Kids are SO focused on the easiest path of least resistance, with no thought to the consequences!

Anonymous,  9/22/2008 04:25:00 PM  

It must have to do with learning styles: auditory, visual, etc. Who knows?
PS. Enter me!

Melanie Avila 9/22/2008 04:51:00 PM  

Writenow, you said it exactly. It terrifies me that that sort of thing happened in the US, and now Spy says so far there aren't any inquiries? To me THAT'S something we need to raise a fuss about and get someone working on it. Unreal.

spyscribbler 9/22/2008 04:55:00 PM  

LOL, Blueviolet. Definitely possible! :-)

spyscribbler 9/22/2008 04:56:00 PM  

Melanie, yeah. Totally.

Anonymous,  9/22/2008 07:41:00 PM  

You don't want Canada's health care system. Check it out sometime, you would be appauled. A lot of Canadians have to have supplementary insurance on top of their goverment funded care just to get the services they need. And of coures it varies but the waiting lists for "elective" surgeries is horrific...and what they consider "elective" can often mean you don't walk until you get your "elective" surgery.

Caryn Caldwell 9/22/2008 08:46:00 PM  

So annoying -- I can't seem to play videos on my computer this evening. Nonetheless, I wouldn't put anything past the current power party. Here's hoping things change in November.

spyscribbler 9/22/2008 08:49:00 PM  

Anonymous, this is true. I hear you. I even know a close friend's mother who was pretty much left to die, because she was no longer statistically considered worth dialysis after a certain age. Just Happy birthday! Goodbye. Horrible.

This might be a case of the grass being greener, but as someone who is without health insurance at all, I'm a bit biased in thinking the grass is greener on your side.


spyscribbler 9/22/2008 08:51:00 PM  

Caryn, I'm really hoping, too. Really hoping. If I throw a few more reallys in there, will it help? I'm really, really, really, really, really, really hoping. :-)

Just.Me 9/22/2008 09:04:00 PM  

No music talent here, but I am a reader. So, as instructed please..."enter me!"

spyscribbler 9/22/2008 09:06:00 PM  

You bet,! Welcome to my blog! :-)

Ruby (Mouth) 9/22/2008 10:55:00 PM  

i can play the String bass, the French horn, and the flute. I love music, though with kids and all that, I have not had much time to practice it.

Please enter me. this books sounds wonderful!!

angelleslament @

Zoe Winters 9/23/2008 10:28:00 AM  


That's a good point. I'm hormonal right now and not thinking very rationally, everything is just hitting me completely emotionally at the moment.

Melanie Avila 9/23/2008 11:16:00 AM  

Zoe, I understand. We've had a couple scary things happen here lately that have really put me on edge. In addition to our family, earlier this week a woman here gave birth in the hallway of the hospital but no one would help her until the baby had already died. I just can't wrap my head around that.

Janel 9/23/2008 02:46:00 PM  

As far as the piano students go, you may be right about the older sibling thing. My son picked up so many things, so much quicker after his sister did them first.

Also, could you enter me in the drawing. Sounds like a fun book. Thanks!

Virginia Lady 9/23/2008 04:22:00 PM  

Unfortunately, many Americans really don't believe that happened. Or that others have been arrested in similar situations. Or that the government can tap your phones without a court order. It is frightening and it is wrong.

The republican party is not the same party it was thirty years ago. It is being led and run by some people who really have no idea how badly they are destroying this nation. Thanks for the video, maybe someone else will start to say something as well.

It's the only way to change things. We have to speak up before we can't speak at all.

spyscribbler 9/23/2008 06:50:00 PM  

Ruby, I've always wanted to play the French Horn! I never got to experiment with it much in school. :-)

spyscribbler 9/23/2008 06:51:00 PM  

Zoe, I know that feeling! And, OHMIGAWD, Melanie! Are you kidding me? I would be murderous if that were my child. Ohmigawd, you would have to sedate me.

spyscribbler 9/23/2008 06:52:00 PM  

Janel, it's not fair, you know? LOL! They have it so much easier. Well, not really. :-)

spyscribbler 9/23/2008 06:53:00 PM  

Amen, Virginia Lady. What do you mean, they don't believe it happened? I don't understand? How can they dispute it?

Sheesh, this just depresses me!

Book Spot 9/25/2008 10:43:00 PM  

I never did take piano lessons...but I might some day :)

and that book looks like one I would love so pretty please enter me?


Angie 9/26/2008 07:24:00 AM  

I've heard about that, and seen one or two other videos. Did you see the one of the lawyers who went into the mayor's office to discuss the situation?

Land of the Free, baby. :(

Re: health care, no, I actually wouldn't want a national health care system like they have in Canada and Europe. I want one that works. I think we should be able to look at what other countries have done, learn from their mistakes, and come up with a good system.