Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Progress Tuesday

Learning: Seitz 1 (Concerto #2, 3rd Movement)
Working Piece: Bach Bourree
Struggle: getting notes in tune when she goes fast
Looking forward to: still Seitz 1 :)
Favorite Piece to Play: Gavotte in g Minor

Learning: bits and pieces of Beethoven's Minuet in G
Working Piece: Scherzo
Struggles: Playing in tune especially when she shifts back to 1st position
Looking forward to: Minuet in C minor
Favorite Piece to Play: May Time

Learning: plucking Go Tell Aunt Rhody
Working Piece: Song of the Wind
Struggles: keeping her violin up when she plays
Looking forward to: Allegro
Favorite Piece to Play:  Twinkle Theme

Things are going well. Both girls are working on vibratto, it will be a while before they can use it appropriately. Anya is working a lot on reading, that is keeping her interested. We worked a lot on review over winter break, and I think the girls can competently/correctly play almost all review songs. Katya is very good at practicing! She practices for 20 minutes and pays attention almost the entire time!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Progress Tuesday

Learning: Bach Bourree
Working Piece: Gavotte in D Major / Humoresque for recital
Struggle: bow hold!
Looking forward to: Seitz 1
Favorite Piece to Play: Gavotte in g Minor

Learning: nothing...
Working Piece: Lully Gavotte for recital, Boccherini Minuet, Scherzo
Struggles: Playing in tune especially when she shifts
Looking forward to: Humoresque (she has tried to play in by ear....
Favorite Piece to Play: Berceuse

Learning: finishing Lightly Row
Working Piece: preparing Twinkle A for recital
Struggles: opening her bow arm from the elbow
Looking forward to: Allegro (and apparently also Humoresque... I am not going to tell her that it will be a couple of years...)
Favorite Piece to Play:  Twinkle Theme

I think I have hit my stride. We go by the list, we have a complicated review system and a system of Blue/Green/Yellow/Red cards that they earn. The better the card the more iPad time they get. There is a times to keep me on track and specific assignments from the teachers help immensely!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Update & Little Violinist

It has been a while since I posted, but an update is over-due. Our big Suzuki challenge now is we have 3 kids playing. K started violin in March (after 1.5 years of Early Childhood Suzuki classes). I was really hoping she would do piano, but she was set on violin, so violin it is.

Last summer we attended our second Suzuki institute with AE and AM. AM was chosen to play at an afternoon recital and both girls did orchestra.

We moved this summer. We now live in a big city with a great school with a much bigger Suzuki program. All 3 girls have private lessons, group classes and theory. AE & AM are also in orchestra.

After a year of my husband practicing cello with AM, I have taken back all the practices (seems to make sense to specialize, he does homework and math with them). So my schedule every day is roughly this:
7:50 - 8:10am: K's practice (she just turned 4, so somewhere between 15 and 20 min seems just right)
7:30 - 8:30pm: AE's practice
8:30 - 9:15pm: AM's practice

So overall I do a bit over 2 hours of music every night, but I love it still and I think we are getting into a good rhythm.

Here is where we are at:
AE (end of Book 3): Finishing up Gavotte in D Major, previewing Bourree, preparing Humoresque for recital
AM (beginning of Book 3): Finishing learning Scherzo, working on Boccherini, and preparing Lully for recital
K (barely out of twinkles!): Learning Lightly Row, working on Twinkle Theme and practicing Variation A for the recital.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Our First Suzuki Institute

AM, AE and I attended our first Suzuki institute. It was a wonderful experience, and the girls learned SO much! They both had a master class, group class and a play-in every day. AE also had preparatory orchestra, and AM had music mind games class.

First of all, I think the biggest benefit for us, was teaching me how to work with them. All the instructors were fabulous, and I learned so much. My biggest takeaway was the 1-point lesson. I have read about it before, of course, but I think this was the first time I actually saw it in practice. AM really struggles with stretching her fingers on the cello for example. It is in part because the cello is a bit big for her (1/8th), but also because she can't see her fingers when she plays, so she forgets to spread them out. Her instructor tried quite a few tricks to get her to do that correctly, but ultimately, what worked best was telling her that she gets an "x" every time she looses concentration, and her fingers get scrunched up. The thing he didn't do (what I normally do when I practice with her) is yell out other instructions like "keep your elbow up" or "watch your bow hold!".

AE loved being in the orchestra. This was her first orchestra experience, and she requested to be signed up for one when we go home :) The class (Preparatory Orchestra) was very cute: it was more about following the conductor then playing music. The first piece they played was an improvisation piece, and they were supposed to play what the conductor showed them. The second piece was "Simple Square Dance". They had 3 violin parts (AE was first violin, but I don't think that was based on anything other than where they were sitting on the first day). It was cool, because all the kids actually did sound really good together! (Proud mommy moment :) )

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Progress Tuesday

Learning: Happy Farmer
Working Piece: Minuet 2
Struggle: Bowing in Happy Farmer.
Looking forward to: Having Learned the Happy Farmer :)
Favorite Piece to Play: She is quite enjoying Minuet 2, when she remembers all the repeats.

Learning: Lightly Row
Working Piece: Twinkles & French Folk Song
Struggles: Bow distribution
Looking forward to: Playing lightly Row with the bow.
Favorite Piece to Play: French Folk Song

Struggle: Not getting angry. The girls both like to chit chat, and it takes so much time during practice! And they they get over-tired, since we practice at night and start wining and I get angry... Fun times
Looking Forward to: I am getting a piano tomorrow! I am looking forward to learning some of the accompaniment parts.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Progress Tuesday

Learning: Nothing at this point -- a bunch of technical things
Working Piece: Minuet 2
Struggle: Right elbow and pinkey. The pinky flies up whenever she plays on A or E strings.
Looking forward to: Learning Happy Farmer
Favorite Piece to Play: This week it is May Song :)

Learning: Started Lightly Row
Working Piece: Twinkles & French Folk Song
Struggles: Keeping her left elbow up and her right elbow down!
Looking forward to: Learning all the pieces!
Favorite Piece to Play: French Folk Song
This is her last week of violin, and she cannot wait to return it and just do cello.

Struggle: Making time for everything. Altogether I practice with the girls for close to 2 hours! i will be very happy when at least AM doesn't have to do violin
Looking Forward to: K starting piano! She is still only 2.5, but I am hoping to get her started a year from now.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Progress Tuesday

Learning: Finishing up Minuet 2
Working Piece: Minuet 2
Struggle: Playing with a bow straight 
Looking forward to: Learning Happy Farmer. (She might be able to skip Minuet 3 for now, since Happy Farmer is a part of our institute repertoire, and then go back to it.)
Favorite Piece to Play: Unsurprisingly Minuet 2 :) She is in general happy to play whatever it is that she is learning currently.

Learning: French Folk Song.
Working Piece: Twinkles
Struggles: Using very little bow! She got her cello stickers of where she is supposed to play, and it is very little bow!
Looking forward to: Playing Twinkle and French Folk Song with the bow. She is plucking those for now, until she gets a bit better with the bow.
Favorite Piece to Play: Ant Song (cello plucking song where she plucks each string 4 times).

Struggle: Making time for everything. Altogether I practice with the girls for close to 2 hours!
Looking Forward to: AM playing more songs on the cello. I love the sound of it so much!