If any of you have taken the extremely difficult and highly underestimated class called Solfege and Eurhythmics, you will understand why the word “appraisal” strikes fear in my heart. Some of you might be wondering what Solfege even is… well let me tell you. Solfege is a music class designed to teach you to be a better musician by teaching you techniques using scale degrees and intervals to read music. The goal at the end of the class is to be able to pick up a piece of music and sight read it perfectly.
Well, as you know, a lot goes into that kind of perfection. Throughout the semester we learn all sorts of skills that can help us reach the high level of sight-reading. We are constantly quizzed and tested on skills we learn. It takes daily practice and dedication to get an A in Dr. Cleland’s Solfege class. About every few weeks the dreaded announcement comes that we are required to sign up for appraisals. Appraisals are basically one-on-one tests with the teacher in which you demonstrate a number of skills that you have recently learned. There is much groaning and gnashing of teeth, but eventually the students sign up because that would be seventy points down the drain if we didn’t. Finally, the moment of truth comes. You must perform your appraisal. All you can see is a bright light at the end of the tunnel as you walk slowly toward Dr. Cleland’s door. With labored breath and sweaty palms you push open the office door and face your doom…
The appraisal is short and the only thing you can hear is the pounding in your head and your knees knocking together, but it’s really over with before you know what happened.
…and you’re free…but are you ever really free of the appraisal? Some would argue no.