Shout out to Mrs. Bartle

Generally I don’t enjoy listening to myself sing or play live. I don’t know what it is, but it reinforces any pre-existing deficit in confidence. Check the version of Crisis 1&2 The Dears recorded for a Daytrotter session. I hope we get to do another one in the future, because that was fun.

At any rate, I noticed a couple moments where my vocal performance was *ahem* not exactly pitch-perfect, when a memory came to me: of my grade school music teacher, Mrs. Bartle, and the hand gestures she would use as a conductor to denote our pitchiness. Like a musical umpire, she would hold her hand close to her chest with a finger pointing upwards if we (the altos, I was forever an alto in choirs) were sharp, and tug on her ear if we were flat. Thinking back to the music program at my elementary school in Toronto, I am super grateful and fortunate to have had such a passionate and knowledgeable teacher. In my fuzzy memory, I recall Mrs. Bartle looking like some combination of own mom (because of their trendy 80’s hair style) and Margaret Thatcher (because of her British-ness) and how Mrs. Bartle, appropriately, took no bullshit. She wasn’t the nice teacher at school, but she kept us in line and as a result, we learned a lot about music before the age of 10.

My daughter started kindergarten this year, and I worry about her school’s lacklustre music program: the meek music teacher, and the fact that the school doesn’t even have a dedicated music room or offer instruments other than recorders. At Howard, we had a second teacher, Mr Tacconia (sp.?), who came in once a week for extra-curricular band class. Thinking back to my school daze, much of my early learning was steeped in music and now, suddenly, I am concerned for my own daughter’s musical education. Perfecting her “rock face” has already been established, we just need to get the music in her.

Or maybe it is there already, intuitively. Music definitely makes learning more fun, and I think it made school more interesting for me. Music and arts are always a school’s lowest priority and the first to go when cuts happen. Let’s not forget to support charities that bring music programs and instruments into schools across Canada. ALSO: mad props to music teachers and school volunteers EVERYWHERE.

Coalition for Music Education in Canada: http://www.weallneedmusic.com/
CARAS’ MusiCounts: http://www.musicounts.ca/


Check me out on the flute! Mr. T rulez! Although, I was very bummed that I got the flute when my first choice was the TRUMPET. Neptune, however, will get but a lame-ass recorder and certainly no flammable polyester blazer. #publiceducationfail

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One thought on “Shout out to Mrs. Bartle

  1. Jean-Ashworth -Bartle was a dedicated choir master…… you lucky girl.
    Don’t forget to give some music kudos to music teacher Judy Jonas who home schooled you as a 2yr old on the flute, piano, recorder & violin in Suziki instruction, with your sister & Judy’s kids.. She’s so proud of your musical accomplishments.
    As are we. Who would have thought that those early lessons would leave such a lasting impact on your career choices?…..

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