Truth at TPA

Dr. Scott Evans, historian, published author, and teacher at TPA, presented a speech on one of our core values, “Truth at Tempe Preparatory Academy,” at the monthly meeting of the Parent Advisory Council last night.  The speech is available here.

      • Is truth objective?
      • Are there core truths we embrace at TPA?
      • What do C. S. Lewis, Aristotle, Plato, St. Augustine, and John Henry Newman (The Idea of the University) have to say about truth and education?

Besides its provocative and stimulating subject matter, the speech is beautifully written.  I highly recommend it!

  Evans_Truth_at_TPA.pdf (311.9 KiB)

Music Class Schedule

Here is the schedule for the final week of Quarter 1 for my music classes:


  • Monday: Quiz 8, Tonal Names.  Homework: HW40: Pp. 111-112
  • Tuesday: Homework: HW41: Pp. 116-117
  • Wednesday: Portfolio Project recordings.  Homework: HW42: Study for Test 3
  • Thursday: Test 3, Chapter 3.  Last day to record homework.  No homework
  • Friday: Begin preparations for concert.  No homework.


  • Monday: Homework: HW40: Pp. 339-340 (qualities of triads)
  • Tuesday: Quiz 09 Qualities of triads in major. Homework: HW41: Pp. 343-4
  • Wednesday: Portfolio Project Recordings.  Homework: HW42: Pp. 348-9
  • Thursday:  Quiz 10 Chapter 7 terms (not for credit).  Last day to record homework.  Homework: Study for Test 3
  • Friday: Test 3 (Chapter 7)

Vocal fry has plus and minus

The so-called vocal fry has lately been getting some attention.  I have in the past on some occasions recommended using it for a few seconds at a time on a sustained, neutral vowel as a simple form of therapy for a voice that may be a little sick from a cold, especially if a performance is approaching.  The therapy can be helpful for both men and women.

Now, however, thanks to pop culture, the fry is becoming an affected form of speech, especially for young women.

While I don’t really care about linguistic trends, upward mobility, or urban-orientation, I do care about our students’ vocal health.  Used judiciously, the fry can be therapeutic.  As a habitual speech pattern, its effects may be more deleterious.

Change in Music Class Tech Rehearsal

Because of a scheduling conflict with the facility where we are having our tech rehearsal and choir concert, we need to move the tech rehearsal to the day prior to the concert.  I don’t think this will affect any of our students, because the tech rehearsal takes place during the school day and the date and time of the concert is unchanged.

The new date is:

Monday, November 16 (morning) for the tech rehearsal.  TPA provides bus transportation from the campus to the performance venue.  Students wear their normal TPA uniforms.

The concert date remains unchanged:

Tuesday, November 17 (evening) for the concert to which the public is invited.  Students provide their own transportation and wear their concert attire.

For more information, please see the TPA calendar and the course descriptions.

If you anticipate any problems with this change, please let your student’s teacher (Mrs. Wilkison or me) know.

Thank you.

Student night at the opera

Reserve tickets now for student night at the opera!

Special tickets are available for the final dress rehearsal of the mainstage presentation of Arizona Opera’s Florencia en el Amazonas on November 12, 2015, 7pm.  This performance is acceptable for review.  It takes place at Phoenix Symphony Hall.

This performance is reserved specifically for students to get swept away by great music and stories–while enhancing classroom learning with pre-show presentations and classroom resources. Tickets are only $5 for students (FREE for Title 1) and only $10 for chaperones.

Any parent who would like to organize a group purchase please contact Dr. Wolfe.

Is there in Truth No Beauty?

What is the purpose of music?  If it is useless, what’s the point?  Classical thinkers would say the purpose of music is “beauty.”  Post-modernists might reply, “there is no purpose.”  The presence of the ugly in music forces the issue: people vote with their feet and leave the concert hall.  Orchestras, in order to continue to reach their audiences, apologetically abandon up-to-date atonal creations in order to rely on Beethoven and Tchaikovsky.

This subject is explored by internationally honored trumpeter Andrew Balio in an article in The Imaginative Conservative, “For What Does Classical Music Exist?”  In this wide-ranging piece, Balio discusses why orchestras are suffering financially and art museums are not, whether Beauty continues to be relevant in an ugly world, what it is that orchestras are to accomplish, what’s the difference anyway between a rock concert and a classical one, and why the audiences at orchestra concerts tend toward grey hair.

Philosopher Roger Scruton’s Why Beauty Matters explores the same subject in a compelling, 55-minute video from BBC Scotland.  Parental discretion advised.

If you find either of these items compelling or provocative, please let me know.