Sunday, March 30, 2008

Day of fun....

Haley is having fun with soccer. She started out yesterday not having so much fun. It was very cold and I knew the fields would be windy (winter-like weather needed...gloves, hats, coats, etc...) At first she didn't like the feel of wearing 2 socks (one over and one under her shin guards). Then she said she felt like an Oompa Loompa (from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) with all her clothing on under her soccer shirt. The first half of the game she kinda just followed after everyone and wasn't running around as fast as usual. She seemed a bit confused as to what was going on. At halftime she asked me to remove her coat and gloves which I did and she came alive, running and getting the ball. She almost scored 2 goals but the goalie stopped them...note to self to teach her to kick it where the goalie isn't. She had fun in the end and wanted to practice after violin lessons which she did for an hour until dark. She did really well for her first soccer game ever with only two practices.

Haley is progressing so quickly through her next violin book. She did the first two songs in two weeks and played them so well with such wonderful concentration yesterday that her teacher didn't have a single correction to make and showed me the bowing to the next 2 songs to work on for the next 10 days because she is away. There is such a change in Haley's hand posture and she is concentrating so well while she plays, her practices are going wonderfully and she is loving the songs. I hear her adding in dynamics and crescendos/decrescendos. It is an amazing trasformation though she played so well before. Yesterday while she was playing her teacher looked at me and mouthed, "That's really good." She was impressed.

Dylan has learned the guitar accompaniment to one of Haley's fiddle songs "The Merry Blacksmith." They have practiced it together and sound really good together. I am so impressed with them. Haley is trying out for a talent show this week and I am going to let Dylan accompany her on that song for one of her pieces. Ritch learned how to play the bodhran a bit and he was playing with them a for the song as well. If Newt will only learn to play it, we will have a little family Celtic band going on.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


Well, the difficulty from Monday was quickly figured out on Tuesday and the D major scale/arpeggio have been mastered. I think Haley thought of the note names as very abstract things to memorize. We approached it a little differently and practiced just saying the letters then doing the notes with her playing then doing every other note of the scale with me on piano and her on violin. She now has it.

Because she got it so quickly, I introduced the A major scale yesterday and she quickly figured it out. I think they will all go more quickly now that she understands what she is doing.

Monday, March 03, 2008

More opportunities to play...

Today, Haley's fiddle teacher invited her to play with Next Generation Kids' advanced players for the NJ Folk Festival. My little 5yo is considered an advanced player. How weird is that? She also told us that she had started playing one of the songs Haley taught to herself at her session this week and many people asked her where she had gotten that song and she told them, "from my 5 year old student."

Haley officially started Book 2 today. Gerry said she has the technique for Book 3 already so Book 2 should go very fast. Part of Book 2 with Miss Gerry is learning scales and arpeggios and learning music reading skills. Haley met her first difficulty today with music...saying all the notes before she plays them in a scale. She played all the scales and the variations Gerry gave her without a problem but has a hard time with the note names. Gerry told us to take it one scale at a time as she had given us 3 to learn last week and it ended up just confusing Haley and frustrating her plus we had so much other practicing to get to that we didn't do it as much as I would've liked. We'll get it this week though.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Fiddling at the Library...

Last night Haley and I attended a Celtic music session put on by her fiddle teacher and husband. Kathy and Dennis are a group called McDermitt's Handy and they play numerous instruments and also sing Celtic tunes. They played at the benefit last night for a local library and Kathy had invited Haley to attend and "bring her fiddle."

Before the show, they discussed a couple tunes for Haley to play fiddle on while Kathy played harp and Dennis played tin whistle. She played Mrs. Crowley's Polka and Maggie in the Woods at the beginning of their second set as a guest musician. When Kathy introduced her she told everyone her name and her age then mentioned that Haley has the "best ear of any musician I have ever taught."

After the program and elderly woman approached us and asked me Haley's last name which I gave her and she said she would remember that name. She expressed her amazement at Haley's playing then said something to the effect of most people in attendance there not having any idea what they had just seen (pointing to Haley) and everything that was involved in it.

Kathy also informed us that she spoke with Kevin Burke about playing with Haley and he would be happy to. Dennis said it was because he showed him Haley's picture on his cell phone where he had taped her during one of the Next Generation Kids sessions.

Oh, yeah...I almost forgot. There was a Chinese auction and I usually don't get involved in them because I never win anything but Haley was enthralled with all the pretty packages and the bags so I bought $3 worth of tickets and she and I took a few and placed them in the bags of our choice. Before the drawing, I said to Kathy that I never win those things and probably the only thing we would win would be the "men's watch." Wouldn't you know that Haley won it!!! I didn't even know she had put a ticket in that bag. I know I hadn't because there were a couple other items I had my eye on instead. It was pretty funny!!