Friday, December 12, 2008

Braggy McBraggerson

I'm sorry, but I think I might just be the best piano teacher ever to exist in life. I know, I'm being a braggart, but I really think it may be true! Every year, I give my students each a mix CD, usually with a lot of songs that use piano. Sometimes I'll mix it up and put on some kid-friendly rock music, or some stuff that they might consider cool, and intersperse it with awesome rocking classical piano stuff. It's usually a big hit. But this year's Holiday Piano CD has surpassed any of the previous years' CDs. And I'll tell you's because of the packaging.

Before I go any further, let me give you a little bit of history here...paint a little picture, if you will. I've never been a huge fan of all this visual art that everybody is always talking about. I used to yawn my way through field trips to the Art Institute of Chicago in grade school. I'd go to my friend's art openings in high school and hang out by the snack table, waiting to leave. The only visual art I ever really appreciated when I was a kid was photography. Other than that, I just didn't get how people could sit and look at this unmoving piece of something for longer than a minute or so. I definitely did not appreciate well.

The other thing is that I was never ever good at any visual art. I took a ceramics class in high school and all I ever made was a whole bunch of triangular shaped boxes with lids (my sister told me that this particular art teacher was afraid of triangles - I was such an asshole as a teenager) and a couple of money banks in the shapes of human heads. I cannot draw to save my life. I made my own deck of tarot cards for my fortune teller costume this Halloween that all turned out pretty great - I named the card, drew a picture on each, and labeled them with "Tarot of Reem." All of the pictures were pretty accurate except for any of them that had feet. I cannot effing draw feet. It looks like there are no ankles...just that there is this curvy part of your leg and then all of a sudden, whoops a daisy, there's your foot! And I can never get the toes right...Have a look at those feet - so awful!

Here are the two cards that had feet in them:

Close up on The Body Wax - look at that stumpy foot with awkward toes!

Close up on Athlete's Foot - nonexistent ankle! Grody!

Anyhow, I'm not good at the visual art. In fact, this aforementioned picture I'm painting would not be very impressive if it were an actual painting. Trust me.

At least now I've reached a place where my appreciation has grown. I'm still not talented in that sense at all, but I now love paintings and sculptures and collages. I'd even try a trip down to the ole Art Institute sometime. If you promise we only have to spend an hour or two there and can then go out for lunch. Oh, and I can totally appreciate colors and how colors go together. This may be due to Tara and her love for colors, or my sister and her beautiful paintings. So maybe this is why I am taking so much pride in the Holiday CD this year. Not necessarily because of the colors, or because I did anything really artistic, but just the fact that I made something that looks cool. For serious, I'm really impressed with myself. Check the pictures:

Here are some of the "winter" stickers I bought at Factory Card Outlet, a heavenly haven for teachers, crafters, and nerds alike:

Screw the big candy canes, I just got 40 mini candy canes for $2! These ones are also more difficult to break, so the kids won't whine and ask me for another like they do with the big ones.

Glittery pencils! They serve so many purposes: kids need to write on their music with pencils, not pens, and also they have glitter on them, which is always very purposeful.

This is the CD I made, with a scrap of green plaid wrapping paper and a curly ribbon wrapped 'round. One kid did ask me if I used Packers colors on purpose. I was immediately ashamed.

And the finished project! Come on, how cute is this? Do you see what I mean about me being the best piano teacher ever? Jeez...

The only thing that might not be so great is the fact that I totally left the CD making to the last minute. So...maybe it isn't the most exciting CD musically. Maybe it's mostly classical music and some other stuff that's pretty cheesy. Whoops a daisy. But I still think the packaging will take all the attention away from the actual music and the kids will be ecstatic, hands sticky from candy canes, skin glittery from cheap pencils, and spirits aglow from my awesomeness.

Okay, I'm done bragging. But just for like, the next few hours, while I sleep. Then I'll be back to do it more tomorrow - don't you worry!

I have to make 36 more of these, by the way. Part of me wonders if I'm going to hate this beautiful little CD by Monday...


Kindra said...

Reem, you are hilarious! The CD's look very cute, by the way.

SophisticatedBrew said...

omg that is awesome! they are going to LOVE that. you are the best piano teacher. don't forget, you need to make me one too. now it's 41! ha ha.

Bea said...

So many things to comment on here so I'm just going to go ahead and start an outline...

A)I agree with visual art being a drag, or at least in the museum setting. I get so exhausted at art museums I can only do them for short bursts of time and then I need to let my head rest. There is so much expected of art-viewers, like, we are supposed to get all intellectual and spout off all of these ideas about what the artist is trying to accomplish. If I need to get smart like that it has to happen one artwork at a time... too much is overwhelming.

B) Your feet are awesome! They might not cut it in the realist camp but they would look awesome on cartoon bodies. And cartooning is the REAL art form, right? You take liberties with your representation of the human form... ankles are restricting so you do away with them. Toes don't deserve all of the detail that could go into them so you simplify. Those were your intentions all along, right? :)

C)That packaging is totally cute, your students are going to love it. It's a really great gift idea in general. I might steal it and make you a mix of songs that have nice piano in them. Take that!

Reem Tara said...

Well jeez, everybody is so NICE! Thanks, friends!

Sarah L, you totally have a CD coming your way, don't you worry. Plus I'll probably send you the excess candy canes since I don't really like them.

B, I'm going to hold you to that mix CD. I actually need more rocking piano songs so next year I can actually make the CD itself cool.

The Pirate Queen said...

You are for sure the best piano teacher of all time! And I love the snazzy wrapping, too.

I'd love a copy of this CD, if it's not too much trouble (I don't even need all the wrapping and such).

Oooh, and for next year (if you haven't already), you should totally put some of Christopher O'Reilly playing Radiohead. That album is amazing!

I can't wait to see you.

Reem Tara said...

You all are making the Ex Mass shopping easy this year. Everybody gets a half-assed CD and a mandarin orange! Ho ho ho!

jx said...

your drawings of the feet make me want to cry a little. but i like bea's point-b about them and why you eliminated ankles and toe detail. are all of your friends genius? and nice work on the cd's, teach. all i ever got from my old violin teacher was second-hand incense and armpit b.o.

Cody said...

You really are the best piano teacher ever. I can relate about the kids whining about the broken candy canes. Sometimes I just want to say "shut the fuck up. I didn't have to give you this candy." I guess it's time for winter break. Also, the yellow and green. Doesn't it suck that the Packers have ruined such a wonderful color combination. I love them together. Obviously they go together, they are right next to eachother on the color wheel. But it's also the same with Christmas. Green and red look good together all year long. Why does Christmas get to monopolize a lovely contrasting color combination? These are the things that I fret over.