Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fun Fiddling Weekend...

We had an amazing weekend. Haley loved the fiddle workshops at the festival on Saturday. She was the only fiddler in attendance without grey hair! Well, besides me but I wasn't a fiddler. LOL

In the first workshop it was Haley and 3 grown men. I could tell by their faces when they came in that they were thinking "Oh great a little kid" but they quickly changed their minds to "Oh great a little kid and she learns and plays much better than I do." They were not people who had been playing prior to adulthood and didn't learn easily by ear. All of them were asking where they could get the music for the tunes they learned. The instructor was a well-known fiddler in the Baltimore area who had obviously never seen a child play before because he couldn't stop commenting on the size of her fiddle.

He taught them 2 songs, one Haley loved and the other at the end (1.75 hour class) he rushed through and she didn't fall in love with it. He talked way too much for Haley and the class was really long for someone her age but she hung in there and learned it all. At the end, he made the comment "In three years she'll be better than me and teaching me how to play."

The second workshop instructor was much more animated and spoke in a way that kept Haley's attention much better. (The class was also only 45 min which helped as well.) There were about 12 adults in that class plus Haley and many of them had been playing for longer than Haley has been alive. Again, Haley was the quickest study and the instructor made comments to the others on how beautifully she bowed, how she did her ornaments both on upbows and downbows to practice, and her tone (which was also better than the adults).

Haley absolutely loved the song he taught because it had a "little sad kitty" sounding backslide and she had never done one before. She played and played with that sound. Haley even added ornamentation to the song as she learned it that the teacher hadn't thought of but he said he would be playing it that way from then on and taking credit for it. As the class ended, he said, looking pointedly at Haley,"Unless one of you in here is a genius you will probably not be able to go home and play this without a lot of work." Afterward he thanked me for bringing her because he said he enjoyed having her.

Sunday was the Young Musicians session, first of the year. There were a lot of new faces and we took along the twins who we had met up with at camp in NH. Haley had a lot of fun and so did the twins so they will be coming back. I am glad they liked it because their mom was saying that they weren't viewing playing as fun anymore so I suggested they try fiddling and especially with the group because it is fun. They did really well.

They had to split the group amung the three adults because it was so large and there were about 6 little girls (8 and up) who were Suzuki kids so the twins went with that group and Haley got put into a group with tin whistlers because she already knew the beginner songs. Haley learned a new song there but found it challenging because it was being taught on a tin whistle. Haley later told her fiddle teacher, "It was hard to understand the song hearing it from the whistle."

I had never thought of her learning the songs by understanding them but I understood what she meant. The whistle sounds higher than violin and the notes sound more frantic when they play them...I don't enjoy hearing the tin whistle by itself but it is okay with a large group of fiddles. I was having a hard time differentiating the A and B parts from the whistle but later when it was played with a fiddle I could pick them out easily. Isn't that weird?

On the way to the workshop Saturday, I stuck in a CD we hadn't listened to in awhile (Patrick Street...a band Kevin Burke played in a few years ago). The very first song was the one Haley had been taught in her last lesson on Monday but Patrick Street played it with another new tune she'd never heard (as they do in Celtic music linking tunes together). Haley asked for her fiddle at once and said she'd learn the second tune to surprise her teacher on Monday. She succeeded plus remembered 2 of 3 songs from the workshops even though I hadn't played them for her to listen to because we were busy on Sunday and the song from Sunday. I couldn't believe she remembered 4 new songs this weekend.

In her lesson Monday, her teacher quickly reviewed the last song from the first fiddle workshop and said that Haley would have to play the tunes from the CD for Kevin Burke when he visits. LOL

My kid is so excited that Kevin Burke will be here in 2 weeks. He is to her what Hannah Montana is to other 6yo girls. I think that's so funny.

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