My buddy, Erik C, who helped me create this website several years ago and who was kindly hosting the page on his server the last 2 or 3 years, has just moved the whole website onto this new platform on

Perhaps this is a good time to get in and update some of the stuff here.

I guess I can start with writing a blog about the last several months...

I think I've already said this in previous posts but it feels like I'm writing a letter to myself because I believe I'm the only one who looks at this website.

Let's see... what's been happening recently?

This is a little hard to explain in English because it's about the complicated French civil servant system and public employment.  When I try to describe the competitive exam process for getting hired as a public employee, I find it really hard to find an analogous situation in the US. 

It's like passing a sort of bar exam, interview and civil servant exam at the same time.

Essentially, the teachers at a conservatory are public employees.  We are employed by the city or agglomeration that administrates the conservatory.  The teachers are supposed to have the right type of diplomas or teaching credentials that qualify them to do the job.  But it doesn't stop there.  In order to be hired on officially and obtain the status of "fonctionnaire', you are supposed to pass what is called the Concours de la Fonction Public.

I may have written a while back that I was preparing to pass this exam/jury in the Spring of 2022.

I did and I succeeded.  Yay!

And the city of Aubagne accepted to convert my year to year contract to a permanent contract. 
I'm currently in a 1 year probationary period before the new status becomes official.

My actual day to day work as a music teacher hasn't changed at all, but the new status implies that I could theoretically apply for a job at another conservatory and if they wanted me, they would have to take me on at the same salary and everything.  It's very similar to the military.  You can move from unit to unit but you still maintain the same grade and rank.

So anyway,  I passed that jury/exam and am now in the probationary period of ATEA - Assistant Territorial d'Enseignement Artistique.

It was a long and grueling process but I'm glad to have done it.  It really made me go deep into my pedagogical principles and techniques and I think I'm a better teacher for it.

That brings me to the next fairly big thing I'm working on.  The next level up in the music education career ladder is the grade of PEA - Professeur Territorial d'Enseignement Artistique...  and that jury/exam will be taking place probably in April of 2023.

Today is February 8 and I don't know yet if I'll be admitted to the exam but my name is definitely in the hat. I sent my packet in on January 30 and the selection committee will probably be doing their thing over the next few weeks.  Fingers crossed that I am selected for the final phase. And fingers doubly crossed that I make the time between now and then to be ready and not fall flat on my face when finally in front of the jury.

So that's what's been happening with admin stuff at work.

What's actually happening with the students and ensembles is a lot more interesting !!

I'll write about that in the next post...