Yesterday, Haley and I attended a Suzuki Day in WIlmington DE. This consisted of two play-ins, a masterclass, lessons on conducting and theory, plus a parent lecture on "Creating a Musical Environment." (That one was hardly worth going to because I am way ahead of the teacher on that one. There's hardly a moment when there is not music going on in some form or another in this house.)
I came to the conclusion, during that masterclass, that Haley's teacher suggests we attend these events primarily to secure her position as my child's teacher. When I see other children playing whether they are behind or ahead of Haley in the Suzuki repertoire, I appreciate completely Miss Gerry's goals for Haley's playing and the fact that she is very consistent in expecting a certain level of playing before she allows her students to advance. I am sure with most other teachers Haley would be playing songs in Book 3 by now (she knows the notes to all of them already anyway) but Miss Gerry is wonderful about bringing along the quality of her playing and establishing strong technical skills.
I watched the other children playing in Haley's master class with technically correct playing (proper notes and bowing patterns) but horrid tone and complete lack of musicality. I don't blame the students or even their parents at all. I know Miss Gerry would never have allowed them to advance as far as they have with that type of playing so I blame the teacher. I think it is a complete disservice to the children. I am so thankful that we found Miss Gerry because Haley would be one of those children if we hadn't found her.
After the second play-in a number of strangers came up to me and commented on Haley's playing ability. In a group of 40 students, I don't know how they could possibly have picked out her actual playing but she does stand out a bit in that her whole body is involved in her playing and she loves it. A good friend suggested that she "doesn't just play, she performs." Maybe that is what people notice about her.
All in all it was a good day. I purchased a violin stand for Haley to use so she doesn't have to put her violin away in the case every time she uses it. It has worked to make her violin more accessible and last night even after an entire day of playing, she practiced on her own twice more that night.