Tag Archives: music education

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.

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Family Fun, Music and Art

A Little Update

So much has been going on lately, I have had no time to post.

But Violet has had a great week, so I want to get a little update out. I’d been feeling like I was really blowing her education, so I want to take time to enjoy feeling like *something* is going right.

Her play started this week. She is so cute in it! It is very much an amateur student play, but she’s having the time of her life. Even better, the director told me she has Violet in mind for a couple of projects next year, including some coaching in directing! Directing is something that I think suits her personality so well (“Miss Congeniality by birth, by campaign, and by pure charisma,” as the program puts it — in other words, if you don’t respond to her naturally, she’s going to try to win you over by force of will). As the play’s director said, working with older actors will give her the chance to develop her diplomacy and negotiation skills — instead of just being pushy!  So that was cool. [I’ll have to publish the full blurb later — it’s pretty funny to see the impression she’s made on the theatre people.]
Then, after coming home from opening night, we heard from Violet’s teacher that she had done well in the preliminary round of the state piano contest and would be advancing to the finals next month!  In her age group I don’t think it is all that competitve, but she really does work hard and challenge herself at the piano — more than anywhere else — so I am excited for her. If she does well in the finals she might get to play in the state honors concert, but that is a ways away. I love that her teacher has a great knack both for encouraging her to prepare well for the contest but also for downplaying its importance — love of piano and willingness to learn and practice are still the most important things.

2 Comments

Filed under Music and Art, Schoolday Doings