Sunday, June 24, 2007

Suzuki Institute

Haley and Gillian An on concert night.

Helen, Gillian An, and Haley in group class.

Before I tell you about camp. I will leave you to ponder a couple questions I was asked while riding for 3 hours in the car with Haley...

While riding past a field of corn.... "Mommy, how many gallons of water do you suppose it takes to water all those ears of corn?"

A little while later..."Mommy, if you were one of those twins who are connected to each other, would you have to marry the same person?"

If you know the answer to either of these two questions please give me a call!

We just returned from a wonderful week at the Suzuki Institute in Washington DC. It was very eye opening and also helped me get some perspective on what I am dealing with as far as my little musician.

Everyday Haley had a group class, an individual lesson in a Master class format where 4 children received 15 minutes of lessons while the others watched, and an hour play-in. Haley loved the play-in because the instructor, Mr. Durbin, was like a stand-up comedian for young violinists making stories out of the songs along with sound effects and faces reminiscent of Jim Carey. The man definately has a gift when dealing with huge groups of violin students and making them love playing violin.

Haley was the youngest child in her group class (group classes were arranged by level). Most of the other students were 6-8 years old except for 2 little girls who were both 5.5 yo and were also in her individual class so they became fast friends. They are both to Haley's right in the picture. Haley and Gillian An (the little one right next to her) spent all their time together, played duets to practice, and held hands when walking around. They were inseparable and her family was wonderful as well. Gillian An was amazed at Haley's ability to play many songs other than Suzuki songs and kept asking me how she learned this one and that one. Her grandmother said that she does not pick up her violin except to practice and though she learns the notes to the Suzuki songs easily, she does not figure out other songs on her own like Haley does.

Besides Gillian An who also played with wonderful posture, I noticed that most of the other children in Haley's class did not play with the posture those two had or play with the same musicality and bow control. I actually noticed many more advanced, older children had very poor posture and control though they played songs even in Books 3-4. Since going through all we did to correct Haley's posture and technique, I am very attuned to it in other children. There were 3 other small children (6-8 yos) who I noticed stood out in their playing and it was neat to see where Haley is headed should she continue as she is now.

After going to the camp I am feeling more in control of this situation. I am no longer as panicked as I have been recently. I have found a place where I can stop worrying so much about things I can't control and focus on what is important...taking each day as it comes, enjoying the journey, and helping my little one enjoy music.

Besides the camp, we were able to spend a lot of time with my brother Karl's fiance, Amy. She took us on tours of the Capitol building and the White House (Haley's only request in DC). We ate dinner one night at a restaurant on top of a hotel where we could see the top of the White House and watch the guards walk around on the roof. We spent an afternoon playing with 4 little girls from Haley's old violin school and also went to the zoo with a set of twins one afternoon. We were so busy and Haley napped almost every afternoon for 2-3 hours (my child who I had to stop from napping at 18 months old).

The boys spent the week at a Police Camp. They had a blast learning about crime scene investigation, forensics, self defense tactics, etc... Every night they told me about all the wonderful things they did. Dylan wants to be a police man now and definately wants to do it again next year.

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