I know I’ve been lax with updating, but I figured as long as I was on a roll from retooling my website (way, way overdue) I might as well update here. It’s bullet point time!
- Federation went beautifully. All my students scored a superior or a superior plus, and to cap it off, one of my students snagged a Judge’s Choice Award, which means he got $50 cash for being the judge’s favorite that day. Sweet! And gratifying! Usually one of the other teachers in the group sweeps the awards. I stole one several years ago, so having a second student be awarded lets me know that qualitatively, I don’t suck. Not a fluke! Drought is over!
- Guild is coming up. I am sending 4 this year, with 2 playing 10-piece programs. The student who won the Judge’s Choice Award is playing a slightly risky program. We have less than 6 weeks to kick things into gear. His composer list has really matured - for this audition, we’re going to attempt Beethoven, Schubert, Debussy, Mendelssohn, Joplin, and 2 Bach 2-part inventions. If he does very well, I’m quite looking forward to what next semester will bring. I have another student who is bringing Bach, Grieg, Debussy, Prokofiev, and Beethoven to the table. I love my older students!
- Spring break is almost here, except that spring break for my studio and spring break for the school at which I teach are not the same two weeks. Oops. I suppose the extra time means I can get back to practicing or studying Dalcroze.
- Speaking of Dalcroze, the 2-week course I taught in January went pretty well, all things considered. Not bad for a first-timer. I think the girls enjoyed themselves, though I have learned that trying Plastique Animee with 6th graders is not a winning combo. Especially not with the exposition of the first movement of Beethoven’s 5th. I tried a smaller-scale Plastique on the penultimate day, with me playing a short Burgmuller etude (op. 100 no. 15, Ballade) and the experiment worked pretty well. However, when moving to a larger scale with more complicated music, not only was it too much for the younger students to grasp, but group dynamics kicked into overdrive. I knew I had a student or two that I needed to manage more intensely, but I did not count on her frustration being expressed in such an immature fashion.
I did learn that interrupted and continuous canon is very doable with this age set so long as I stick to meters like 2/2 or 4/4 while keeping rhythms simple. Games of imagination and improvisation were the biggest hits. And although at first it felt like 90 minutes every day was going to be a super long time, by the end I felt like it wasn’t enough. I started with 4 concepts or so on day 1, and quickly realized by day 2 that I could handle, at most, 3 large concepts. Sometimes we only stuck to 2 because the games from the previous day were repeated and built upon. And sometimes, in true Dalcroze fashion, I looked at my lesson plan, written the night before or the day of, and disregarded half of it. By the time week 2 drew to a close I had become much better at anticipating what my students could do, and I could create a lesson plan that could be followed to the letter without feeling like I was constraining myself or my class.
There’s a possibility that I may get to do another Dalcroze session for a local music camp in July. It would be one week of daily classes for younger kids, and a week of daily classes for older kids. I’d love to do it, and I’d love to say yes, let’s make this concrete, but I have a slight problem. I’m due in mid-June, and I’ll be in Boston in mid-July. The camp starts the Monday after I return. I’ve never been one to back down from a challenge - I still think I can do it - but I’m not sure if taking on work so soon after giving birth is a good idea. I went back to work and school full time 4 weeks after my first child was born and I swore I would never do that again. It’s a good thing the director of the camp is very accommodating.
Time will tell, I suppose. Hopefully this kid will get here earlier rather than later. I’m very much into letting nature take its course, so I won’t set a date for this kid to be here, but uh… hey, if you’re listening, the early part of June would be just perfect. Thank you!
GOD BLESS THE ATLANTA SYMPHONY
I am so glad to be so close to such an amazing symphony!
Ikr? I’m so glad I got to see Scheherazade there. It’s a childhood favorite.
Kinda bummed out I didn’t get to go hear Bach’s Mass in b, though :[
Much as I love the Woodruff Arts Center, though, I wish they’d uh… venture into Cobb some, because I have transportation issues x__x
I TOO AM IN ATLANTA. I had no idea there were so many of you nearby!
Performance Today is airing a special on Mr. Cliburn today. It’s a whole hour devoted to him and his work. RIP to one of the great American pianists.
Another year, another crazy month or two (or three). That’s right, it’s Federation time, followed in another month by Guild time. Work kicks into overdrive and I lose my weekends for the quarter, just about, as well as some nights.
The work is worth it. I always give 100% or more to my students. But it can be exhausting, and burnout is a real danger. I’m just glad no one is doing ABRSM this year.