Thursday, February 28, 2008

Amazing opportunities...

Monday, at fiddle class, Haley showed her teacher the new songs she had figured out on her own. She went from the first one she showed her the week before right into the next and shocked her a bit. They worked on another song with a lot of crossbowing which Haley has mastered doing on one bow stroke with a nice clean sound, most of the time. I watched her teacher smile and shake her head in amazement as she did it.

After that song, she teacher mentioned that Kevin Burke would be in the area end of next month and his day off happens to be a Monday so she is going to have him come to Haley's lesson and play with her. Haley was soooo happy she could barely finish her lesson and only did so with the biggest smile on her face occassionally looking over to me to mouth "Kevin Burke."

Haley's fiddle teacher and her husband are playing Celtic music at a local library tomorrow and asked if we wanted to come listen. When Haley said she would, her teacher told her to bring her fiddle along and she would have her play a song or two with them.

Haley's Suzuki Book 1 graduation concert is scheduled for a little more than 2 weeks away. Her Suzuki teacher said she was ready "yesterday" but vacations and wrestling have impeded the scheduling of it.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Days with no where to go...

As you can probably tell from the title of this blog, days with nothing to do are the exception rather than the rule in our houses. Today, which is a Monday, usually would consist of Haley and I going for a playdate at 9am, followed by fiddle at 11am, going back to my friend's for lunch, then violin at 2pm, a ride home and quick dinner, then taekwondo at 6pm. A strange coincidence of both violin and fiddle teacher being out of town and the holiday causing taekwondo cancellation left us with surprisingly no where to go.

We took the chance to catch up a bit on history and science that had fallen a week behind, clean and straighten the basement, do a little extra reading, and practice violin/fiddle a little longer than usual. Haley is putting the finishing touches on her Book 1 songs. She is playing Gossec Gavotte and Happy Farmer for the Friday @ 4 concert at the retirement home this week and has her Book 1 concert soon. She is having a lot of fun adding ornaments and fancy fingerings to her fiddle tunes and has been working on a relaxed wrist on her bow side.

Yesterday, I purchased a laptop and this afternoon Haley and I emailed back and forth to each other. Her first question was when she gets to go back to violin and fiddle...she really only missed a lesson today so I thought it was cute that she misses it already.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Improptu Concert...

Today, I had to take Haley with me to a meeting for work prior to fiddle lessons. It was a bitterly cold day so I took the violin into the building with us. After the meeting, which ended early, one of my coworkers asked if she would play them a song. She agreed and played her Cincinnati Hornpipe. Afterwards, the director of the program where the meeting was held, asked if she would like to play for one of their preschool classes. Haley, of course, said, "Yes."

The teachers had the kids all sit in a circle so she could play for them. She played Britches Full of Stitches then the kids (3-5yos) asked her some questions and she played Bill Sullivan's Polka. It was so cute to see how interested they were in her playing.

Monday, February 04, 2008

I love ideas that work...

Two weeks ago, Haley's Suzuki teacher brooched the subject of changing to a "big girl" bow hold. We tried it a couple times but she had difficulty with keeping her pinky on the bow and with the upcoming concerts I didn't want to change anything that major.

Last Monday G. said "today" was the day to change that bow hold for good. She is ready for her Book 1 concert and needs to play it with a "Big Girl" bow hold. Haley worked all week to perfect that bow hold. She did really well on the Book 1 beginning songs that don't require concentration but still on the faster or more complicated songs, her pinky slipped off and the other fingers rode up.

Today, her lesson was rescheduled so we had an extra day of practice. I remembered how a tiny piece of sticky rubber had worked when she first started playing to help her "feel" where her left thumb should be. Once it had become habit, we just stopped replacing the sticky rubber piece when it fell off.

So, I had a brainstorm and put a tiny piece of moleskin on her frog so she could "feel" where her ring finger should stay (I noticed that as long as that finger was in the correct spot, her pinky was curved and on the bow). Well, it worked. She played all the songs in Book 1 and maintained her bow hold complete with curved pinky.


Friday, February 01, 2008


Monday at fiddle lessons, Haley and her teacher worked on The Lighthouse Keeper's Waltz- the song she figured out from listening to the Kevin Burke CD. Then they worked for a short time on The Fairy King, another song Haley has been trying to learn on her own. She had figured out all the A part but the B part is very long and takes a lot of turns so though she has all the pieces of it, has not yet put them all in order. The teacher was not aware of the version she was listening to so asked that I email her a copy.

K. then showed her a new tune and afterward they practiced a couple old of which was The Mountain Road. K. had shown Haley how to do the cross bowing on one bow stroke, not thinking she would figure it out but just to give her options. For the past few weeks it has been the only way Haley wants to play that section so she has worked on it a lot. She played the cross bowings very cleanly for K. then had to go to the bathroom, her usual way to slow a lesson when there has been a lot of playing.

When she left, K. said to me, "She amazes we every lesson. I can't believe she managed that. None of my students, even the adults get that. She really has a gift."