If Tim Gunn were a band director 

I like to think my kids know me pretty well. As any of you that are music teachers know, especially if you have a marching band/show choir/musical background, we spend thousands of hours with our kids over the course of four years.

So in all the ways that are appropriate (I am a big fan of healthy boundaries) my kids get me…usually.

This means I am RARELY engaged on the following topics:

  1. Sports…in fact when I discuss any relevant athletic event (except Bey at the super bowl…class of it’s own) I can see eyebrows raise all like “wait, what?” It’s fun to pretend I know what I’m saying when it comes to sportsball.
  2. Video games…I once coincidentally took a personal day that fell on a release of World of Warcraft. There was a rumor floating around that I was at home playing WoW all day. Thankfully some of the older kids were able to expose this for being grossly inaccurate (and this is not a dig on gamers…I live with one)
  3. Math. This is a good thing because I last took a math class in 1998. Numbers haven’t changed a whole lot but I have. However, if you’d like to discuss David Gillingham’s use of chromatic mediants in his compositions I’m your guy. And if you don’t know what that means, no big, just know that’s what it feels like when I talk about calculus.

So kids are highly perceptive.

But do you know what I have on lock?


I get asked questions almost daily about fashion. Teenage guys want and need some guidance and support here. So rather than dismiss it, I’ll quote the ever wise and disturbing Jerri Blank of Strangers With Candy.

“Go with what you know!”

I may single handedly be responsible for a small spike in 4th quarter pocket square sales at Nordsrtom Rack in Dublin. (Most of the students thought they were for blowing your nose. Eww.)

I explained to a student yesterday that a cardigan was not just any kind of sweater. And that, no, it’s not more specifically a red sweater. You know because of the prefix cardi- (which sounds like cardio, which gets us to cardiovascular, which means blood naturally.) The work is real people. Do you know where you were when you realized what a cardigan was?

And that men’s hemlines are a bit higher right now and that’s ok. And I do have footie socks to support the hygienic appearance of mankle. Pointy shoes are ok, to a point. Moisturizer now or forever hold your peace. You can mix a pattern but do so with caution. And of course I can tie your tie for you, and yes I’ll do a half-Windsor. And no that tie shouldn’t extend to the midpoint of your zipper.

And so on and so forth.

I’m not just teaching the pyramid of sound.

And though it’s not a critical component of my job, there are lessons to be had around paying attention to detail, caring to understand the time and place for certain apparel choices and never having to apologize for being overdressed. And in so many ways teachers model so many things big and small, said and unsaid.

I just didn’t know I was also signing up for Project Runway.

“You may leave the podium, good bye!”


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