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Trey Reely | May 2010

    I have never understood why some of my worse students ask me to write a recommendation for them. Are they clueless to the fact that they are one of my worst students? Maybe they don’t get along with any of their teachers, and I am the lesser of a dozen evils. Whatever the reason, I’m basically a softy at heart, so I usually try to soften the language of my recommendation a bit. Below is a sample letter with the translation in parenthesis.

Dear Dr. Fillmore (and potential lifelong enemy):

    I am writing to recommend Harmon Moot for admission to your music school. I can recommend him with confidence (confident that I will be glad to be rid of him) and can assure you that he will be a fine addition to your school (“fine” being a two on a scale of one to ten with ten as the highest).
    I have known Harmon for six years (it seems like 20) and found him to be sensitive (he cries easily), assertive (obnoxious and pushy), and never rash (he thinks too slowly to be rash). He has shown strong leadership skills (not unlike those of Attila the Hun) and is extremely conscientious (probably paranoid). His enthusiasm (often out-of-control) is contagious (he brings others down with him).
    Harmon’s tuba playing can be best described as emotionally evocative (often makes me want to cry), rhythmically innovative (can’t count), tonally mature (if the sound of a full-grown bull moose is what you’re looking for), and technically sound (if he plays from his first-year band book).
    Harmon comes from a very close-knit family (they meet at the principal’s office once a week and the jail every other week), and he is certainly in need of financial assistance (just don’t give him cash or he will buy video games instead of textbooks).
    I fully expect that someday Harmon will be outstanding in his field (and that’s exactly where you will find him).

Sincerely (sorry for what the future will hold if you accept him),

Trey Reely
Riverview Bands
(telephone number unlisted)