Back to the normal routine

With the Olympics an SAM graduation behind us, it was back to the grind: group lesson, swim lesson, lunch out, and private lesson (plus, today, some errands).

Group class was small, and the teacher kept it very simple, working largely on rhythm and listening. Here’s what they did:

  • He had three rubber balls, small, medium, and large. He dropped them and asked the kids to play a G when it hit the ground (forte for large, mf for medium, and piano for small). He built in some crescendos/decrescendos.
    • He made one great point. He told the kids to notice if they are early or late and said noticing this is just as good as being on time.
  • G scale with knocking. This was rusty.
  • Huckleberry Apple (I’m A Little Monkey) on the G scale, first all together, then all around the room with one kid per note, then around the room with eyes closed, which really forced them to listen.
  • Again with the bouncing ball, this time letting it bounce two or three times.
  • Improvising on a G major scale against a chord progression.
    • He made the mistake of asking kids if they wanted to do it. The shy ones said no. M was not shy, though, and she improvised with a lot of confidence.
  • Playing Perpetual Motion and counting out loud, 1-2-3-4.
    • Twice he asked a song’s time signature, and both times M eagerly shouted, “cut time!” She was not right either time. I’m not sure why she’s so excited about cut time; she’s done this before.
  • He did a variety of exercises with this:
    • He played, kids counted.
    • He counted, kids played.
    • He played, stopped on an arbitrary beat (actually, it was always 1) and asked the kids to give the beat number.
  • He ran a tone contest with the kids and talked about nails.
    • M did several cool things when she played. First, when she played Twinkle, she played with great dynamics and some vibrato. Then, when she played Perpetual Motion (a few bars), she deliberately ended on a fretted G, not an open G, so she could do some vibrato. (She actually missed the note, but it was  a cool idea.)

M also said something nice at lunch. When I brought our lunch back from the counter, I told her that I had been telling the staff about our day (in response to their comment that it was daddy-daughter day) and how much we did, and they called me a “slave driver.” I told M that I responded that she was very accomplished and liked doing her activities. She agreed, saying, “I do. I like it.”

At her private lesson, M rocked the section of the Canon, though her rhythm wasn’t totally secure. M also did a great job reading another song in the key of D. And M played a section of With Steady Hands and, though she missed notes, was in fact very steady (her teacher balanced an eraser on her hand and it stayed in place). Our assignments are:

  • Bring With Steady Hands back into the rotation. Do a balance game with it, placing something flat on her hand and seeing how long it can stay in place.
  • Work on the 2nd section of the Canon.
  • Work on the Canon while tapping her foot, counting beats, or both.
  • Work on bass notes in Meadow Minuet separately from the melody. Try saying them as we listen, and consider using the music. (I’m not crazy about that idea.)
  • Also, we have a new Twinkle accompaniment to learn for the end-of-semester concert.
  • And we need to work on the Bach Tanz for Colorado!

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