Category Archives: Random thoughts

Parents are teachers

I just wanted to vent for a bit.  We’ve all been hearing a lot recently on the news about how our schools are failing our children and how the teachers are to blame.  Where do the parents fall in the blame?

My parents taught me most everything I know, encouraged me every step of the way through school, helped with homework and projects, took me to lessons, made me practice, made me go to bed early, woke me up in the morning, made me eat a good breakfast, took me to the library for books, took me on educational family trips, taught me how to read at a young age, and more.  They did this for my siblings as well.  We were all expected to work hard and to hold ourselves to very high standards on our schoolwork, music lessons, and other activities.

Today in class I asked my students to repeat a piece and to try to get better intonation (fingers on tapes).  One student raised her hand and said that they always have that problem.  She said it in a tone that implied that since this was their weakness, I should just let it slide, that it would never be better.  I was shocked!  I told the class that even if they might never accomplish perfect intonation, we would always be striving for it.  We should always have high standards for ourselves!  The second time through WAS a bit better.

My point is this:  not all children are so lucky to have great parents.  We as a nation are quick to judge the teachers.  What about the other adults who see our nation’s children even more?

Back in the Lou

I drove home late Friday night because I had a couple of weddings yesterday. May I just say how thankful I was that all the weddings yesterday were inside, as it was 95 degrees outside. That air conditioning is a wonderful thing!

Today is a day off for me, so I’ve been organizing my binder with my materials from the week…wow, so much wonderful information to digest! I also have a long suggested reading list to get through–many suggestions on how children learn and motivation. I’ll be busy reading for the next few months! First on my list is a new book by Ed Kreitman that I picked up at the institute: Teaching With an Open Heart. He’s the author of Teaching from the Balance Point, which is a brilliant book on how to teach.

The Suzuki Triangle:  Parent, Child, Teacher

My home away from home!

Happy Birthday!

Today is my dad’s birthday. Tomorrow is my youngest sister’s high school graduation. And here I am in St. Louis, too far to go for either event without making a bigger commitment out of the visit (and missing out on some work!) My brother is currently visiting my parents (they live in SC) and my other sister will be visiting over the weekend. The guilt, oh, it burns!

I was able to make some extra pottery studio time today, for the first time since starting my class! We can do unlimited “open studio” time, meaning just stop in and make stuff but without the teacher present, but I have just been too busy for a long time. I only have three more weeks in my current session, but I hope to use up all my clay this time! Then I’ll decide if it’s something I want to sign up for again–July is pretty sparse activity wise so it could be worthwhile. I know by the fall I won’t have time (fingers crossed at least) so I could try to make the most of it.

If I were better at pottery I could send my family members mugs or bowls I have made…not a wise idea now, as surely I made lots of poor looking art projects when I was a child…

So again, Happy Birthday DAD!! May you have a fantastic year 🙂 And perhaps come to St. Louis?

More intonation

Thought I’d start by giving you a picture of my best pot so far.  On Monday night my instructor helped me with a step of the process I had been doing wrong, so hopefully in the future my “work” will be even better.  However, I absolutely love the color on this pot.

Intonation:  the title of this post.  Monday I had another lesson and realized I needed to work even harder on being perfectly in tune, or having “gorgeous intonation.”  I’ve been practicing with a drone from my little metronome.  I thought I would hate drone practice, having avoided it all my life, but much like metronome practice, I actually love it because it requires less worry from me, and more absolution.  So that’s a relief!  There’s a saying (I’m sure you all know it) that you can never be too rich or too thin…well let’s add that you can never play too well in tune.  And I’m also continuing to work on the “thin”.

I went to a gathering the other night to celebrate a friend’s birthday (two friends actually).  It was fun of course, but I was struck by a few people commenting that  I was “disappearing” and this was of course considered a compliment to them.  It’s interesting that women are expected to “disappear” to be considered healthy and attractive, whereas men are expected to “bulk up” and take up space.  Just a thought.  At least I’m tall–

I also went to see Cirque de Soleil over the weekend.  They were in town doing the show “Allegria.”  It was my first time seeing the group live, and it was just breathtaking!  They will be back in January.

End note:  this luckily doesn’t affect my violin-ing at all, but I managed to injure my hand by being a bit too determined and perhaps reckless/incorrect on my centering technique.  Let’s be glad I can still play the violin as out of tune after the injury as before!  Here is a gross picture of it.

That’s from today, the incident happened on Monday.  It actually looks grosser today but feels much better.

Beethoven Violin Concerto

I’m looking forward to Saturday night’s concert (attending, not playing, to be clear!).  It’s all Beethoven with the SLSO, including the Violin Concerto with Christian Tetzlaff.  A source (a certain viola player I know well!) tells me he sounds fantastic though his interpretation is a bit unconventional.

My work week is effectively over, all that remains is Saturday morning group classes up at SIUE, and this Saturday is observations only for me again.  TGIF!  (Remember when Full House was a part of that?  Random, yes, I know.)

Pines of Rome

I wasn’t going to go to the SLSO for awhile (the concerts kept making me VERY angry, for personal and professional reasons) BUT last night they were playing Pines of Rome by Ottorino Respighi, one of my favorite pieces. I have played it many times (probably a dozen, at least). I have played first violin, second violin, every different divisi possible plus the solos. In any case, I’m glad I went last night, because I hadn’t SEEN it performed before (that I recall, at least). WOW. It was super intense and awesomely loud, and just wonderfully enjoyable all around. I can’t use enough superlatives to describe the feeling of being in the audience for Pines of Rome. I’m glad I put my pettyness aside and went to the concert!