Richard Ozanne

  1959 -
  City of Birth:
St Louis
 
 

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Richard 's Story > Categories > Candid Shots-Observations of a Culture

"Education in the Tucson System" 

 

Date Range: 09/20/1966 To 09/20/1983   Comments: 0   Views: 13,837
Attachments: Yes [1 Audio]
 

Tucson Arizona 1966-83 I was a mere 6 years old when we arrived in Tucson. I was use to a world a little different, the easy being green and a different attitude entirely. I was a normal child, looking towards the future. I loved all things children do as they are young, running, jumping and playing games, flying a kite or playing with other children. When I was a young boy there was the attitude of a sparkling world awaiting us in the future. Of course this was largely media driven, but a case may be made that our future was bold, and the 60’s seemed to generate this kind of energy. Man was setting foot in outer space. On the domestic stage, the Vietnam war was raging on, there were counter energies in place and one could feel them if one was sensitive enough. In music the Beatles were a rage, the Rock and Roll era was in full swing. I didn't dig it, and it was not in me to know exactly why. I was a child of classical musicians who were another era, another generation. One could say the race was on in some media circle whether the old was going to win out on the new. Of course the old ways were losing out. My parents were born in the early 20’s era. A great deal had changed for them as well considering this particular era of the 1960’s and its progress or regress. My father had a new professorship at the University of Arizona. He had been a stage performer, playing the United States in hundreds of concerts and tours with the Boston Pops and solo stage performances. He was one of the best they had of the era, deciding to teach instead of the night to night vigil of performing concerto after concerto, traveling hundreds of miles, zig-zagging across the country on these numerous tours. From my memory he had become a little worn out of touring. Certainly any performer after a 64 city concert tour in 59 nights would agree, this is wearing on a family. I remember my fathers concerts as a youngster, I remember him coming home worn out, turning around and playing another set of concertos, learning another set, practicing 6-8 hour days and teaching as well. Certainly there were students. Both my parents were keen professionals of their craft, and both were fine teachers. I certainly sympathize with my father on one key point. As I write these memories down, I have memories of my own of endless tours and exhibitions, here, there, and across the nation as well as strings of them in Europe. My memories of these have gone down in a journal. It is a journal of keeping up, going out, producing more and more, and then...waiting, as the next set comes into play. I have experienced this activity too, and sympathy for the performer or the continually exhibiting and producing artist is there as well. Education Richard Marsh (Ozanne) Early School Life in (Tucson Arizona 1966-77 My parents were both professors of Music (Ozan Marsh and Patricia Benkman-Marsh) in the older tradition, well educated and specific in their goals of preparing outstanding musically driven piano students. Both my father and mother were insistent on good quality to superior level education. Even in the 1960's and 70's access to quality education was difficult. One had to go outside the box, and into private educational frameworks to get quality education. This was the same with my father, having been privately tutored and going to private school at Catalina Island School for Boys and my mother, who in her time had the finest of all possible educations offered to her at the Polytechnic High School San Francisco public school level but insisted to be privately educated as well during her youth. In the old days 1960’s one could not be "home schooled" successfully, especially in Tucson Arizona where the educational system was said to be of a good character, for normal students to reach sustainable academic levels for preparation to college. During my early years I was subject to the Public School System in Tucson Arizona Which had its well meant system of education. We moved from Spartanburg South Carolina in 1966. Tucson Arizona in the 1960's was a town/city in a state of growth. I had my first two years (Grades 1-2) of public school in Spartanburg SC, and found Arizona to be a completely have different set of rules with a general quality to education that was far different than I had seen in the more conventional programs back east. I missed my friends and school in South Carolina, I remember with almost a vivid sense of the childhood experience. Tucson was in the west, an exciting new experience, but so often did I miss the green, wet soil and seasons this first year. I did well in school my first two years, encountering A’s and B’s. I didn't have to be placed into certain schools, or progressive educational parameters.. The concept of student placement in education was brought up to my parents. Agreeing that I should be placed in the best possible educational system possible was beyond a question. Immediately I was hit by a battery of tests lead by some teachers at the university that would generalize the aptitude and outlook for various reasons. “Your son is considerably bright..” commented one of the researchers, “We believe he should be in a progressive program” Thus I was part of a test. My parents were not pre-determinists. For instance my parents never said: “Richard is going to become….” but rather left it to an open state of personal unveiling. That this school, wherever I was placed should have a good science program and arts program was important however. I know my father had second thoughts, and my mother also, but afterall this was the Space-Age and there were now progressive programs for children to advance very quickly through the system---on all levels. I was given permission to be a part of a special project that was new to Arizona...the experimental school, a new and improved product of education that was supposed to be an advanced addition to the Tucson educational system. Sounds good! My parents were thrilled! Afterall University of Arizona was tops in its field in many numbers of things, and it just seemed to be part of the play of the era that Arizona should have some really bright, student-building, progressive projects towards education K-12. This was grade 3. The Experimental School My experience 1966-67 I spent one semester at this experimental school set up by some corporate industries with progressive elements of educational outlook, devised for brain output and enhancement, I had the most memorable feeling of hating this kind of education as I remember it. A normal school day: We were lined up Given special privileges to certain: colors and numbers We had these things called tote trays-Color and number specific- Numbers on the edge of the tray to assignments-color, roman numeral and code impressed books- There was a whistle blown! We marched from class to class in line...in order, no stepping outside the yellow line. (Great system for robots of the future, for children?) The system was enhanced, and the things that they taught us were at least a level II-III above our grade levels, in other words attempts at 5-6th grade science in 3rd grade. and the same with other studies...including art, although I'm sure looking back it was the 60’s and we had one weird teacher teaching us progressive art…. Whistle Blown! March! Recess- 45 minutes of running around and kids beating each other up--- I was lucky to have a day without some event happening each week a fat lip, bloody nose or some kind of traumatic event would happen at this school, all I remember was utter and sheer chaos among the children asides from standing in line at attention with a whistle being blown “remain in your seats”, follow colors, follow numbers...no teacher taught us a thing that was comfortable or impressioned...rather blunt, course number driven and boring as mashed potatoes. Step out of line, prove yourself...and are reprimanded, even to the point of being physically shaken! Child abuse of the deepest psychological nature was riddling this school. Less than 5 months past and I begged my parents not to let me return back there, Why? It was obvious!! They didn't care for the students questions, insisting that we were young adults (3rd grade, and that we must follow the rules, regulations or face punishment. The teachers gave us a blank stare when a question was raised…”Look at it, its in your book...Section II-X, Book Yellow, Red, Blue…” the teacher would guise, “You must not be following the course material..” Itself-guided study!”, yea, 3rd grade... repeat... with calling the child my their last name only. I don't recall a teacher really teaching, just demanding passing tests-and a reprimanding forced silence in days of often severe corporal punishment, mind you! So a progressive school of absolute and total brainwash!* *Today if I were a principal of at that school, looking back, and remembering in full vision what went on, I would have had each teacher and administrators fired and the school disbanded, doors closed! (I think it happened later but not too much was said about it in the news) The memories of that time, and the 'experimental' education system were close to bizarre in their methods and tactics. Memories of Education in Public School It was Tucson Arizona, 1966 that was a definite change for me as a child. When we arrived in Tucson, I remember the day and the feeling. I did not know what to expect. As a child I was familiar with westerns and western movies. Yes, I had been out here a couple of times already but never Tucson, this was a first, an anticipation and one of the early keys to life that marks me in my beginning. After a month or so of being in Tucson,( our first residence being an old hotel named El Presidio for several months until we bought or obtained a house) I began to feel strange in this abode, this environment and began to ask my mother if we were going back to South Carolina. My father was paid very good wages for his post in Arizona, my mother too was anticipating a great deal here too so far as her career. (She was a pianist, and frequently played, but turned more to teaching) I remember her start in Arizona was a little unsettling. She frequently got upset with the environment, and couldn't mesh with the activity of Tucson. I remember she used to talk about going somewhere else, sometimes feeling frustrated to the western climate. During the first few years I remember her going off to her parents house to visit in San Francisco, a place for her that was more conducive to another kind of thinking. But she stayed the course, developed a teaching regimen that was different than Converse College where she taught before, the rules at the University, included nepotism laws. She kept on going, teaching students at home and was key to my fathers activity in and behind the lines of the students, before her post at Chautauqua where she taught the seasons forward till her passing. I had a good life in Tucson as a child, it would seem. I enjoyed the summers and travel to Chautauqua much more than the school years in Tucson. The summers in Chautauqua were active with learning, and adventure, as well as the beginnings of my true heartfelt interests toward painting, being an artist. As a child, Tucson was quite backward I felt. In school, the arts and crafts were taught, but only on a very simplistic level. At six years old, I was the child that drew every day when he came home from school, and stacked up paper in those drawings. Art and creative the truly creative venue was as natural to me as a the flight of a bird, the real world of construct, and compression, rules and regulations, how it is done according to another persons insignia. Unfortunately this was not true in school where academics were considered first and primary, the arts somehow pushed to a last seat in the house, math, reading, history, science and the basics were taught..in just an overview fashion. I was interested in a lot of things as a child, and took to the sciences as well as my art. But unfortunately, only the basics were taught, even a certain love of science was pushed far and away from the imaginative to the elementary and the normal set of template education which even as a child, seemed a cut and paste operation, based on rules but not on imaginative output. Therefore I had an initial deficit! I was the child who wanted to know more than the teacher could teach me. Dealing in school I was rather slow to learn that all the dots needed to be dotted and t’ crossed before proceeding to the formal status quo of how things operated in a formula based system on a template design. Yes, I was tested for dyslexia, that great word that psychologists speak of, and it was extreme problem in my case, but I had to contend with it, and build upon it, successfully getting around this issue for anything positive to occur...so they said. I had all my letters backward! i could write backwards as kind of a carnival stunt (my parents laughed, but they understood all too well these issues, especially as per societies sense of ‘normalism’ and encouraged me to be careful...for I could be quite different than other children) , and speak backwards, but this was only to contend with trouble in a very normal environment where any activity that may be construed as different is a sign of a disturbance, outside of being the curious, inventive, and imaginative child. I would go to school and return home to play, just as other children. I was seen as unusual at school early on and patterned for a battery of tests, from intelligence quotient tests to visual and audial examinations, psychological tests-reactive tests...without my parents consent. The results of which, all were passed with flying colors..except for dyslexia, suspicion that I was hyperactive, and perhaps just a normal child, with an irregular and uncertain personality order, that was maybe just a child in disguise, fully imaginative and quite gifted child.,,that should be under scrutiny and observation as to my output, social relationships etc. Two Third Grade Experiences: I was given a project for science class -show and tell one time about 3rd month of the first year in school. The subject, “something very unusual”. We were to write a one page paper about the object, bring it to class, and present this ‘unusual’ object before the class. Now normal children would bring a nice shell from the seashore, or an unusual stone in to be discussed. This was an advanced class- and there were some sparing children that were trying to outdo themselves here. I looked around the house, one evening for something really interesting that could be shown to the class and make a one page paper on it for my science class. My parents were challenging me over the dinner table...find one thing that is really interesting to you in this room. Describe it, tell me about it. We played this game a number of times. That night I combed the house and found some object that I didn't really know what it was...yet I did. It was an electronic filter for recording that had an unusual shape, color and various appendages to it...perfect for the class! I asked my parents permission for the use of it at school the next day and we sat and talked about this object. It had a long name, something like: Quadra-Serial Reverberation and Interference Coupling- guess, no it was printed right on it with a long serial number and engraved logo. What did it do? My mother brought out the dictionary and handed it to me. We broke down each word and reassembled the possibilities of what this object did, quite easy, right? Quadra- as in quadraphonic Serial Reverberation Interference Coupling I was learning new vocabulary and new science from the dictionary and writing it all down….it was a rare-“sound filter” used in recording studios of the time in the days when stereo was just getting started. (remembering this object with clarity) I wrote a page on it, I checked it with the dictionary as to descriptions and prepared this as a ‘shocker’ for the class...with a trick phrase, “Bet they might use as a communicator on Star Trek... Its a sound/recording filter!” The Science class began and we each handed in our paper homework for our show-and-tell project, and then my name came up. The kids were in wonder. They were spellbound into the description of this object, pronouncing the long name, and its practiced descriptive speech. Ok, third grade?! I loved this material, but I was grabbed by the ear by the teacher and yanked physically outside in the hall after I gave my prepared speech...the piece of machinery taken from me, with a firm “No!” reprimanding began, that drew tears...and the inquiry, criticism, as well as being formally dragged to the principal's office with a telephone call to my parents to come and answer to my activity!! Well my father and mother were floored, and the principle silenced. The science teacher handing the filter back to me with a tongue in cheek apology…”Kind of heavy piece of equipment for a kid to have...huh?” Needless to say, the children remembered that day, and I was to never live this incident down. Another Incident: 4th Grade-Public Grammar School I had lots of inquiry as to the world around me in retrospect! I was interested in the space program at the time as many children were. After school studies included Jules Verne and other science fiction that I found fascinating and would frequently read to my parents and ask them questions, before going out to play, or spending an hours practice. On one particular occasion, remembering the gift that I was given of a years subscription to National Geographic, there was an advertisement for some space education program-it was called the Science Program- that one could send away for for just a penny. I asked my parents but they were too busy, so I grabbed a penny off the floor and sent it off...no problem. Well, I got the freebie book and adds for some fascinating books, that were on aerospace and the space program. One of those too good to be true valuable sets of books was just another dime away...My mother gave me the dime and it started to come in, all the books every month to the book library. My father was a bit upset because there was a cost to all of this, but he sat me down and I had to do some extra chores to pay for the books--educational material--It was not 4th grade material, my mother seemed game also paying about 30 dollars-then-for the set. I had to earn this however. It was like a new bicycle every month, I was awaiting the next set, studying all the information etc in the books, and writing about it on my own, coming up with ideas, and imaginative drawings. I was completely the space-age child! Another show-and-tell came, and the theme was “What you know about the moon!”. I was psyched! I wrote a 3 page paper on going to the moon, and produced all the critical material of how we were going to go there…pictures, maps and keen material on how rockets were constructed, etc. I even built a 4 foot tall model of the Saturn VRocket and painted it for the featured-show-and-tell, which had a special prize attached, for the best presentation-a map of Mars and the Moon!. I was going for the gusto. We had 10 minutes of our hour long class to make our presentations. I came in with a radio transcript of Dr. Wernher Von Braun memorized as to how the- exact way- man was going to get into space from the earth and go to the moon. I was also going to demonstrate the model and the craft that was going to take us there...including very detailed vocabulary. The class began, I unveiled the “Rocket” and began my lecture on the earth, demonstration of pull of gravity, mean escape velocity, what an orbit is, what an Orbital Altitude Maneuvering Unit was, primary, and secondary propulsion and dynamics of escaping the earths 7 mile a second pull- earth as a slingshot to go to the moon, with the terms- “Trans-Lunar injection” and some physics involved in this. I lost the teacher. she just sat there thumping her pencil, as with the students, scratching their heads.. I just practiced this in front of my parents and they were enthusiastic. At school, the teacher sat me out in the hall again, and another visit to the principals office. “Trying to get the class interested in things that ‘don't’ concern them..” her excuse. I had to stay after class in a remedial reading class emphasis to read at my grade level, Lassie Comes Home, My Paint Pony. Now, it was told: You're too young to have interest in these things, there for adults..” and sanctioned for this...same, same. I got the map of Mars and the Moon by the way, the last day of school that year. I was the kid that was asked in 5th grade to build a stick and frame house out of wood in a model shop...got bored with the subject of glue and sticks, and came out with a Buckminster Fuller Design! Hec, it wasn't the project, and I knew I was going to get sanctioned for it! I think thats why I became an artist, the rule books are less closed, and the possibilities more open than the stick and frame housing! Needless to say a two-way split occurred, what I did in school and what I did at home. Some of this comes back to me today in retrospect, however. One suggestion to parents..if possible, and you have gifted children, take care of them, see to their needs and be sure of a good private or semi private education, not some mass assembly hall that equates normalism with success, testing as aptitude. Today this may be seen as a very intrusive method to take children and put them in a special room-with children studiests, and chart their experiences as to timed reactions of rorschach tests, incrementally different kinds of puzzles, mazes and trick puzzles, word games, and putting blocks in their right order...simple isn't it? How about heart rate functions, visual examinations and human motor function tests… Without the consent of parents? Now? When my parents got partial wind of this it was trouble! (Dr. Karl Menninger, a family friend and psychiatrist had a little to say..) I was a normal child! Looking back...hindsight is so clear sometimes. (Note, I wonder why I am so adamant about childrens and young adults education. Our teachers in the 60’s were often drafted from the new and improved experimental areas, the older more seasoned educators seemed to be back in the public schools, which offered a better, happier experience than other progressive tactics that seemed to be coming out of Timothy Learys brilliant 1960’s think tank! Thus we have borne a lost generation...) I spent one semester at this experimental school insisted my parents move me to another school.. 1. I finished grade school in Tucson Arizona at EL Wetmore School, Tucson AZ a small school that gave out a nominal normal education grades 1-6 without too much discussion. 2. During my Jr. High School years-Middle School I went to Canyon del Oro and then Amphitheater Jr. High School Tucson. 3. I began testing after Junior High School for augmented programs in high schools and was accepted by some private schools that had accelerated education. High School 1. I began High School at Salpointe Catholic High School in 73/74. 2. I passed through High School in 1977 Happy Memories of Tucson During My High School Years I'm afraid, they were few and far between. I loved my music classes and art classes, both with other students and alone. My experience was to get the requirements out of the way and move on, so to speak. I was not really involved, for various reasons in any after school activities but waited for my real learning to begin at home. I had not too much social life and the weekends were consumed with lots of projects and creative activities whether it be practicing the piano, or art, photography,and in some instances work when it was offered. I set myself up as a photographer my Jr year in HighSchool and won a Golden Key, National Honors Society in Photography that year. I was too busy in my arts based activities to take up baseball, football or soccer, really having little interest in them. The University of Arizona University of Arizona in Tucson, specializing in music, piano, and then vocal education. During this time I spent 3 years in the music program proper and then switched my major to Fine Arts towards a BFA in Fine arts, being offered both a BA and B Phil as a broader range to my studies. At that time the University system was quite different than today and the degrees were much stronger, had more substance and it was more difficult to attain the degree. I graduated with my BFA in 1982 and went directly into graduate school at the University of Arizona towards my Masters. 3. During my course of upper division study I took 6 units extra courses at Tucson Business Academy (my father thought it would be good to take courses in practical matters such as general business, typing, and real estate...it was like pulling teeth...but I learned quite a bit during the night courses..but dry non accredited courses that lead to some functional material ) Private studies Fine arts painting, drawing, composition and color from graduate teachers in training such as Jerold Bishop, University of Arizona and Art Hutchinson, Al Romo tucson artist (Medical Illustrator) as well as private/public studies or seminars with others on occasion that included Jerold Bishop, Ansel Adams for photography- arranged by my father during a lecture of his at the university- Donald Crowley, Painter Arizona , and Howard Terpning, Al Heldt Arizona (sculptor) My musical studies: Basicly. as soon as I entered the University I was studying at the music school of the University of Arizona. I studied with my father and took the ordinary core courses of Theory I and II, Music Literature, was involved with the University Concert Choir and the University of Arizona Chorus as well as having private lessons. Outside the university I took piano lessons from my father Ozan Marsh-as well as with my mother when she was alive. It was a shuffle, but I had the best attention. At some point there seemed somewhat of a conflict of interest between (me) as a (son) and student- and the rest of his or my mothers students. This was the game, I just played along, practiced at home and would be more serious about the piano when my father would launch into my lessons at home...I would work with him on the outside of the university and try to keep a low profile with other students, why practicing at home. This was the course of things wherever, even at Chautauqua. Sometimes I was tried as a testing ground with some students of his. One thing is unique. I had the best possible teacher and one heck of a top-class education in piano. In my Junior year, I switched my major to Fine Art. I liked this a bit better and really wanted to be an artist in the final analysis. All the Theory and study to be a pianist was difficult and there was no room to practice. Moving towards a degree in Fine Arts (BFA) I could have the best of both worlds and still love music. I was from a family of musicians, pianists. They were top caliber pianists from a very wonderful line of historical figures in the music world. Sometimes it was overwhelming, even at an early age to be constantly surrounded by piano 24/7 and listen hear and know the repertoire of each individual young pianist who studied with my parents. It was a non-stop environment. Beethoven, Schubert, Bach, Liszt, Rachmaninoff, Busoni and every composer one could deem to imagine. The young pianists would come in to the studio and get a wonderful lesson by my parents which would go "all out" for their students on many levels, and then watch all the shenanigans happen on the sidelines. There I was, right there, to see what my parents talked about, what they truly believed and sometimes how their students treated them in the final analysis. Both my parents took all their students under their wings. All the students all of the time. Each one was selected, being the best of the best for their particular skill. All were different. Each played a certain way. Some had unique talents that were specific...but when it came to piano lessons...there were no better teachers available. As a student myself my father would make blood out of a stone. When I was young I took lessons from a Ms Teska who went through all the young students works...I did well. I had a natural ear. That was a real problem. I would often play simply by ear, or race through something in a hap-hazard way. When I was very young...about 8 years old, my parents were in the far room and I had an interest in picking up a piece of music...it was Beethoven’s Pathetique Sonata (I have a recording of me playing it in 1968, my father beating time in the background. I picked it up and played it...somewhat to my parents coming running into the studio-room (our living room) their eyes ablaze and a long lecture on Beethoven would start. I had been studying only several months, but I wanted to play the big material, and like a child I wanted it now even if I wasn’t ready for it...or was I...then? Well it was a series of wrong rhythms and many notes...but I recount that incident well. I always, especially as a child had somewhat of a musical ear that would just appropriate music. At a young age my parents use to tease some of the people with this ability to some apt musicians and conductors who would come to the house...and say: "Richard..can you play the Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto?" , now how about the "Liszt E Flat"...Ok the Busoni Concerto....and I would just launch right in. If I could hear it I could play it...as though the music was somehow right in my ear. As I grew older I did become less automatic and more analytical especially with the piano lessons. My father was a technique master and so there were many exercises thatand would practice ad infinitude only to lack a fluid impressive repertoire and many of the big warhorses which were technique eaters and and power thirsty. All in all it was my own choice if I wanted to play the piano or not. My parents did not persuade me nor dissuade me. It was all on my own account. But if I did take lessons...it was a Magna Lesson...sometimes that would go on to 1 or 2 am in the morning. Some of those students thought it was rough. I was always worried if I missed my lesson, or came up with an excuse...for wrong notes, or misinterpreted rhythms. If I went into the studio with junk, I had it polished out of me before I left..one tick with the metronome by one tick. And of course for an audience...I had my parents. And with encouragement in hand if I needed this as well as criticism. Moreover I came out with the gift of music, one gift that could never be bought or sold since it is the essence of the artists ear to the pianist what the sight is to the painter. I was extremely grateful for all the lessons from both my parents. Yes both my parents were die-hard perfectionists in their craft, and impeccable masters of putting a wonderful product into the arena of music. I will always miss the Saturday or Sunday meetings of my parents and their students at our house. Today those students are on their own...some are famous...some of them became teachers themselves.



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