Recent Events

Some wise person, when we moved recently, told us to make memories in the new house to help ease the transition.

We’ve done our best in recent weeks to do that and keep busy with other stuff besides.

There was first Halloween:

Hween 2009

And then the open house, which encouraged us to get furniture arranged and boxes unpacked. (Just don’t look in the basement or garage.)

new house

new house

new house

We also held a 1/2 birthday party for Victoria. She didn’t get a birthday party this year, for various reasons, and so we took the opportunity to demonstrate to her that we would indeed be seeing our friends again– even friends who used to live across the street. (It’s a “ninja party”)

birthday party

Dig the sushi cupcake making:

birthday party

The party inspired everyone to try their hands at origami. Naturally Eggmaster is the best. But the butterflies and most of the throwing stars are mine.

origami2

Today was Violet’s piano recital. It has been fun to watch her name move steadily up the list. In general, the playing order goes by level of student. Older/more advanced students play at the end. It’s a good system. Having sat through lengthy recitals featuring many beginning pianists, my ears need a break after a while.

I have been reflecting on our piano teacher since hearing about the choices others have been making. I feel very lucky to have her. I know there are probably more rigorous studios in town, but our teacher has a great combination of love for her students and desire to challenge them.

piano teacher

Especially when Violet was younger, she would sometimes bump into a teacher who would ooh and ahh and say “Wow, aren’t you great!” without giving any further suggestions for improvement. But one of the most valuable things about piano, for our family, is that it gives both girls an opportunity to work through perfectionism. In Violet’s case, it also gives her a chance to slow down and work on details — something she is not inclined to do without a *lot* of encouragement from her teacher. So I like that her teacher is positive and encouraging but still asks a lot, according to the ability of the student.

The other thing I like about our teacher: she is student-focused, not parent-focused. When we called her about starting lessons, she was extremely direct about only teaching students who wanted to take lessons for themselves, not for their parents. I imagine in this area there are plenty of parents who force their kids through music lessons and practice sessions. Our teacher did not even want us monitoring the time V. practiced — that was to be up to her (at about age 8 forward). I really admire her for that. And my goodness, the students who stay with it! Her high school students are playing amazing repertoire — pieces I played as a college piano major — many of them with great subtlety. I remember listening to our former neighbor in her last recital before going to college on a music scholarship, playing a piece by Sibelius. I was in tears, it was so lovely.

It was, in fact, this family that connected us to this teacher, and I am so grateful, especially since our family life seems increasingly to revolve around music.

And speaking of gratitude, I am looking forward to celebrating our first Thanksgiving in the new house. It’s going to be our biggest group yet.

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4 Comments

Filed under Family Fun, Music and Art

4 responses to “Recent Events

  1. Mariposa

    I love the details on the inside of the house.

    What a neat party for Victoria.

    It sounds like the arrangements you have work well for Violet.

    Our daughter’s change was her teacher’s impetus, and in the end we had to decide whether to move forward. We really didn’t see this coming. We loved her teacher.

    We didn’t sit in on lessons with her previous teacher because it was not required. On the other hand, the professor has different requirements.

    I play a little piano, not a piano major, and our daughter has played for a while now. I’ve noticed there is politics among teachers. There are also different philosophies and techniques even though their degrees might be similar. Now, it is different again at the university level. I don’t think you can get two to agree to anything unless one taught the other (any maybe then whispers). I think it is because it is “art” at certain point.

  2. wow, I love your home – it’s so grown-up!

    congratulations to Violet on progressing so well with her piano playing. It’s one area in which I feel intensely guilty, that I bumped piano lessons down the list of priorities.

  3. I love your new house. It’s beautiful! I love the wall paper in the dining room (I am trying to convince Pere that wallpaper is cool again) and I love your couch!

    I think your friend was wise indeed. It definitely helps to start making traditions in your new home. We have been here two years now. It took me about 5 months to get really used to it.

    I LOVE the ninja party. So clever and fun (and mysterious)

    That is great that you have such a wonderful piano teacher. I think so much of it depends on the child. Some kids like to perform, some kids just want to learn music for their own sake and not perform, some want to have more control other their practice and some want the teacher to give them goals that they can challenge themselves with, etc.

    I really hope Z will have as good a fit with her new teacher as your daughter has with her teacher.

  4. Nicole

    Question – when you have time… my son Franklin is interested in learning Mandarin. Can you recommend any beginning materials? Is Rosetta Stone the way to go?

    Happy Thanksgiving! Your home is absolutely beautiful.

    I can also relate to the blessing of a wonderful music teacher. Franklin wanted to learn to play guitar from 12 months (really!) and began taking lessons at 3 years. His teacher has the most amazing ability to get in Franklin’s head & go along the ride with him…teaching him a requested Green Day riff for five minutes & then being completely willing to discuss harmonics before FINALLY the last five minutes of the lesson being allowed to teach a small portion of what he had planned for the day. He is always on my list of Thanksgiving blessings!

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