Lice! (and Pentatonix!)

Posting’s been even lighter than usual because for the past several days, I’ve been spending a ton of time inspecting M’s and her mom’s heads for lice and nits (and being inspected in turn). After four solid days, M was entirely louse-free.

What a way to spend the Thanksgiving weekend!

But on an unrelated note, Pentatonix triumphed in the Sing-Off, showing that sometimes talent is rewarded.

And speaking of singing harmony, I had a surprise from M today: She was watching Wild Kratts as I inspected her head again (clean), and she sang along with the theme song in harmony. It was only for two notes, but still — it appeared to me that she was making up the harmony on her own. The one time we tried singing a round, it didn’t work out — M got pulled off of her part onto mine. But apparently she is learning harmony by osmosis.

Non-Suzuki-related plug for The Sing-Off and Pentatonix

This may seem out of place in my blog about Suzuki guitar, but as someone who loves music, I cannot say enough good things about NBC’s The Sing-Off. (And no, I have no connection to the show. I’m just a fan.) The singing groups on this show — a competition among a cappella singing groups doing popular music, in case you don’t know — are just remarkable.

I am particularly in love with Pentatonix. They consistently deliver creative and technically outstanding performances, and they are simply adorable. I love the fact that the three main singers are 19 years old and sang together all through high school. I also find it incredibly charming that their main front man, Scott Hoying, took second place on Star Search when he was 12 years old, and here he is again competing on a singing show. These kids just love to sing, and they demonstrate outstanding musicianship. Anyone who loves music has to admire what they do.

Right-hand technique – videos

Today we worked on right-hand technique, and I took several videos during our practice as teaching tools. M has some habits that need changing — she plays from her elbow or wrist, not from her knuckles, and she plays from the underside of her nails — and I took these videos to help her see what she is doing and what she needs to change.

1. Suzuki’s Allegro – Take 1

2. Suzuki’s Allegro – Take 2

3. Long, Long Ago (rusty!)

4. Bach Tanz

More bridge building in working pieces

Friday: We focused on M’s working pieces today, since her lesson is tomorrow. With Allegro, M can play each section quite well, but at the end of each one, she pauses to figure out what comes next. So we worked on the bridges between sections.

With A Toye, we’re still in the assembly stages. M was only assigned the B section last week, so we are just working on stringing the sections together. M did a pretty good job of the first 16 bars.

Today’s Breakthrough Diary:

Breakthrough Diary, 2011 November 4

Building bridges

Today or the day before, I read M the Practiceopedia chapter about “building bridges” — connecting sections. It was timely, because as M is learning the individual sections of both A Toye and Allegro, she’s having trouble stringing them together. So today we focused on bridges. For instance, I had M play the last measure of one section of A Toye and the first two measures of the next section. It seemed to help.

I also had M play Allegro with the metronome, and we played and sang Christmas carols. Here’s today’s Breakthrough Diary:

Breakthrough Diary, 2011 November 02