Thursday, January 01, 2009

Obnoxious Students

Students in my music class…

Some take the course just to show off their knowledge. They are eager to announce that they saw Larry Tibbett at the Met, or that they recognize the name of Galli-Curci.

A few criticize me: When I said I had never heard Rosa Raisa, an elderly woman spat at me, you should be ashamed of yourself!

A retired know-it-all doctor talks while the music is playing. And I heard him say, about me, loud enough for me to hear, that I choose the most familiar and obvious music to play. Bastard.

Some people are DESPERATE to show off their knowledge.

I was at an opera…and I heard a woman near me say loudly, Oh, the famous aria is coming now!

Another time, a woman nearby began singing to the music—just to prove that she recognized it! (I much preferred the singing of the woman on stage.)

But hell, it doesn’t take much to become knowledgeable about opera. If you were really smart, you’d talk about superstring theory—and if you hadn’t wasted so much time learning about opera, you might have written some informative books or become a champion tennis player.

OK, OK, I know that some of you are driven to show off your knowledge, but please, try to curtail your impulses. Don’t talk while the music is playing. Don’t shout out trivial information. And don’t boast that your grandmother heard Caruso sing.

I suggest that whenever anyone says something just to show how knowledgeable he or she is, we give that person a round of sarcastic applause.

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