An Apology To A Music Theory Teacher
Santa Fe sounds like a romantic city, but really, it's a city of small houses. My girlfriend and I have been getting rid of anything that's taking up unnecessary space. We both had a stack of college binders that we schlepped from Austin to our home, here. Two weeks ago, she got rid of her stack and felt wonderful for doing it. That made me think... what on earth am I holding onto my old college notebooks for? It's not like I read them, really.
So, in an effort to get rid of old notebooks, I have been going through each three-ring binder and seeing if there's anything worth keeping. I was struck by a pang of hot shame when I came across an old music theory binder. Wow, it was intense.
My job now is coming to terms with how idiotic I was when I was younger. I was a jerk to this poor theory professor! It's sad in retrospect because this theory professor was incredibly smart, had a good head on his shoulders, and was also incredibly talented. Like, virtuoso talented. I didn't get his mannerisms, his clarity and command over the subject matter at that time, so I dismissed him for all of it. Worst of all, I feel guilty to this day for dissing him for his in-class performance of a Beethoven piano sonata both during and after he was done playing. Thinking about it now is so tough that the only things I can do is shake my head and laugh at myself...
I had some incredibly challenging assignments in this class, but I did enjoy the work (see the analysis I did to the left). The professor cared enough to write clear and encouraging comments to each student. In looking at what he wrote me on one assignment, I realize that he was actually doing something I just didn't get because I was too stupid to see it. He was trying to reach out to me, to help me become a better musician, to force me to be stronger and think better. He had (and I imagine still has) a clarity and depth about music, about music, about being a better musician. Hindsight is 20/20, and in this case? Uhg. More so. I really missed the mark.
To that professor, Dr. David Temperley if you're interested,I offer my sincerest apologies that I dissed you. You didn't deserve it. I had my head up my ass. Obviously, I needed life to kick the crap out of me. Thanks for being the better man, and I promise I'll pay it forward to all my students.