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