“Viva La Vida” By Coldplay

Your students will definitely enjoy this catchy Coldplay song! This particular arrangement even lets the cellos have the melody for 8 bars, and you’re confident that this will appease the cellist who you said was not good enough to even bother auditioning for your husband’s after-school orchestra, the Philharmonic. You told her she’d be better off quitting if she seriously thinks she can even become last chair in the Phil. Maybe she will stop glaring at you in class if you give her some fun sheet music for an iconic alt-rock song!

“Eleanor Rigby” By The Beatles

This song is a classic for any student interested in orchestral influence on rock music. And hopefully if you bring it for your class tomorrow, everyone will conveniently forget about how you threw a dry erase marker directly at a violist’s eye. In your defense, he did keep mixing up notes, but that might be because you forced him to switch to viola mid-year (too many kids want to play violin). If you bring in this classic rock arrangement in, people might not care that his injury was serious enough for him to take the rest of the day off!

“Firework” By Katy Perry

This would be a great pop tune that your students would look forward to rehearsing; it’s a song they all likely know well. It would be especially cool to give them the sheet music for this on the day after you yell at them on a field trip for not taking this class seriously 30 minutes before you’re slated to drive to the amusement park Carowinds, because you guys traveled all the way to North Carolina for this competition just to get an “Excellent” rating, rather than the highest rating of “Superior.”

Even though your students took your class because they wanted to skip school to ride The Intimidator, this throwback hit will definitely make them forget about how you singled out each section on the bus ride there and listed out each of the “same stupid, careless mistakes” that they made during the competition.

“Uptown Funk” By Bruno Mars & Mark Ronson

One day, you tell everyone you’ve decided that you’ve decided to take up meditation, and you’ve actually been really at peace since then. Today will be a relaxing day because you invited two freelance electric violinists to play for your class. Those guys play “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz, and you know that it’s not an interesting song at all, but these kids are thrilled, and you even see some of them smile for the first time ever. It makes your blood boil that these two cruise-ship musicians think that they can just waltz into your classroom and engage with these kids in the way that you have been desperately trying to for your entire career.

Instead of actually considering that this envy could be linked to your anger issues that you’ve been trying to solve with Kombucha and deep breathing, while conducting that afternoon, you slam your baton into your stand too hard and break it in half. Your students stop playing but instead of apologizing or reacting in some other normal way, you cackle, pick up a stuffed animal Chick-Fil-A cow that you got at a school fundraiser, say “Wow, looks like I had a cow!” and maniacally laugh some more. Your students are genuinely terrified that you might have gone insane.

You’re fine, no, you’re better than fine, and you know what, fuck it, you can do cruise-ship music too. You hand out some sheet music to “Uptown Funk”. You start conducting immediately, but your students have only been playing for six months and you never taught them how to sight-read music they haven’t seen before, so they completely fall apart.

Ask your class if this is this is what they wanted. Ask them if they want to play on the street like the guys who came in today. Tell them to play “Uptown Funk” on the internet and try to go viral, fucking dare them to do it. Tell them that if they love pop music so goddamn much, then they can have it. Ask them if they ever actually gave a fuck about classical music or if they just took this class because they needed a bullshit elective and wanted to go on field trips sometimes. You’re hyperventilating and crying and it’s getting really hot up there and you think you’re about to pass out.

You wake up on the floor in the hallway. Your husband’s here and he says that you should maybe consider taking a break from the classroom for a bit. Is he right? Maybe, but you took a sacred vow to never to stop teaching until each and every one of your students quits playing their instruments.

The fight rages on.