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In Which Ryan Does Ryan Things

April 2022 | 3:4


Koopa and Goomba would like you to know that sometimes things are ok.

What's Been Happening

I think this is the first month since I started this newsletter where I look back and my gut reaction is “that was a pretty straightforward month”. It certainly wasn’t uneventful; I flew to Texas and saw my first WGI show ever, I did two separate drum corps camps, went to a family wedding, and wrote a whole bunch of music. It certainly wasn’t all perfect either; the world is what it is and I had stitches for a couple weeks from having a mole removed (clean bill of health moving forward, although right now it looks like they removed the mole by shooting it at point blank range).

For all that though, it felt like… life. And say what you will about it, but life is pretty neat.

May your masks smell pleasant and your packages arrive without incident,


Chart O' The Month

Epicure SetsMedium Ensemble
00:00 / 01:04

As I mentioned last month, I got to play a bunch of my music out in DC with a group of great musicians including some old friends I hadn't been able to make sounds with in far too long. I finished editing the live tracks from that, so this playlist is both sets and can be perused at your leisure. Big thanks again to Epicure Cafe for hosting the gig and Billy Wolfe for putting everything together!

Epidendrum 'Pacific Sunset' x 'Pink Rabbit'.JPG

Look, Nature!

The orchid show at the Chicago Botanic Garden was this month as well, and because my wife is cool we got to go a couple times. This is one of her favorite types of orchid because it looks a bit like a dragon or a bird of prey.

On a completely unrelated note, I'm sure she told me before but after choosing this picture I saw that the scientific name is "gongora gratulabunda". How in the world did that not stick with me?! Why are we as humans not naming other things similarly? Is this the magic incantation that turned dragons into orchids and that's why we don't see dragons in the wild any more? I have a lot of questions now.

Education Notes

The biggest thing that has stuck out to me educationally this month is it seems we’ve finally crossed the threshold where most groups, schools, and teachers have made decisions on how they want to do things moving forward. Fundamentally that’s great and is yet another sign we’re setting off on a better path than we’ve had for a while, but I think it’s important to note that this moment is when students become the inflection point for a lot of decisions made outside of their control. One example is it seems lots of schools are scheduling mandatory events on weekends now; I’m sure there’s a good reason, but for drum corps members that have already committed to rehearsals at those times they’re suddenly left without an option that makes everyone happy, let alone including themselves.

I won’t pretend to have an actual solution to this, nor do I think it’s helpful to say “think of your students” when obviously that is what we’re all doing anyways. I will however offer two thoughts:

1. Be curious. If a student is responding in a way that seems odd (e.g. missing things they ordinarily wouldn’t or isn’t excited about something they normally would be), ask.
2. Remember that they need to learn how to navigate multiple demands on their time and energy. Be an asset, not just a stressor.

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