Tuesday, July 30, 2013

DIY recitals

I used to worry that as my children's only teacher, they were missing out on being a part of a studio and doing the typical studio things like recitals.  Then I decided I was being silly and had my own.  Recitals don't have to be stodgy, terrifying experiences.  I have some friends who have children who take lessons and I invited them all to our house for a evening concert.  The ones that wanted to participate prepared for it, and one friend actually taught her kids just so they could join in!  Her 3 year old daughter played a piece I named "Tiny Sonata in in C, first movement" - which was her getting up and finding middle C and playing it for us.  It was so sweet!  My mom was visiting so she accompanied some of the violinists too, although we also thought about hiring a local pianist to be our official accompanist.  Maybe if mom isn't visiting that will be our plan next time.

I printed up a little program, the kids dressed up or dressed down, and took their turns standing in front of the crowd and bowing, playing, then bowing again.  Then we put the instruments away and had root beer floats.  It was a blast!  Giving the kids goals to work towards - even a simple house concert - are fabulous motivation tools.  And if you look and the Dude's face, you can see how great it makes them feel when they accomplish something.  It was his first time playing for an audience, and after seeing all the other kids playing piano, insisted on starting piano lessons the next day.  It's going great so far, but that's a whole other post.

Plus it was a great motivation for me to get the house all cleaned up.  Win-win!

Friday, July 5, 2013

Party of 5!

It's a boy!  Again!  We were blessed with him back in March and the adjusting has been pretty minimal.  This kid is AWESOME.  
(these pictures are from my 365 photo-a-day project - hence the numbers)

Boy #1 has been having violin lessons for 6 months now and has been making progress - slowly but consistently!

He has some fine motor issues, so it has been so impressive to see him begin to be able to move his fingers independently of each other.  I'm so thankful we are doing violin now to strengthen his hands!  Interestingly - I taught his sister piano first and violin second because piano was so much easier for me to teach and for her to learn lesson skills since it's so straight-forward.  Plus she could read so reading piano books was a great first step.

Boy #1 can read already, but since we only have an electric keyboard, the distraction of all those buttons is too much to ask him to concentrate.  Violin has no distractions - just me and his instrument.  For a 3 year old boy, that seems like the best first fit.  I thought I had it all figured out after the first one - and this second child is doing everything backwards.  It's such a great education for me as a teacher.  I am curious to see what curveballs our new little brother will throw at us!

Teaching music to my own children has taught me to get rid of my preconceived notions of what I think they would be doing with a different teacher, and how I was taught in the past.  I can't push and make everything fit some mold - there is SO much flexibility required.  I have to be willing to be humble and go with the flow - which is difficult since I've spent so much time being a teacher to other people's children.  I can't be as strict, but I can't be lax either.  It's such a interesting balance.

 I adore these three munchkins.  There are so many unknowns in their future - but if I can at least teach them how to work and practice and try - then I think I can breathe a little easier.  And here's nothing more adorable than seeing them race to get their instruments so they can jam with Daddy on the guitar.  That makes it all worth it :)

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