Congratulations to Hamsini, who last night received the Director’s Choice Award at Fort Settlement Middle School! Hamsini is in the top orchestra at FSMS and in December she performed the concertmaster solo for Fantasia on Greensleeves (Ralph Vaughan Williams).
Congratulations to Ananya for receiving the Outstanding Musicianship Award from her orchestra at Clements High School! A few weeks ago, Ananya led her orchestra to Sweepstakes at DC Fest with her fantastic concertmaster solo for Pavane (Gabriel Fauré).
As a teacher, I’m always on the lookout for ways to help parents and kids through the challenge of establishing a consistent and functional bow arm. This idea from my student, Daelyn, and her mother, Deion, is one of my favorites.
It takes quite a bit of practice to attain good form – knowing how to hold the bow is one thing, but putting that knowledge into practice is another. Parents are encouraged to learn how to hold the violin and bow themselves to feel how tension attempts to find its way in. Further, parents’ aid during their children’s daily practice time is invaluable. Often, however, practice time becomes a list of fix-its: “Check your bow hold! Relax! Pizza Hand!” Kids know this list well, but the repetition, though necessary, can put a dent in the positivity that early practicing should involve.
Daelyn and Deion’s brilliant solution is to boil this string of comments down to one key word – blue. “Blue” is neutral, and its one-syllable nature makes it a quick way for Daelyn to check her overall posture frequently during practice. Blue is deliberately unrelated to violin; it simply hints to Daelyn what she already knows. It allows Daelyn and Deion to work as a team while still giving Daelyn independence in fixing each detail. Further, the meaning of “blue” changes as Daelyn grows. For Daelyn, long gone are the days of the difficult bow hold, and vibrato is now the task du jour.
The results speak for themselves – Daelyn’s playing level has skyrocketed since the start of her lessons in the fall of 2013. Bravo, Daelyn and Deion!
All opinions are by Lauren Haley and all original content is copyright 2015 Lauren Haley Studios.
Bow to your audience before and after your performance to thank them for their applause and attention.
Smile at your parents before you check if the camera is rolling! Make sure there’s no music stand between you and your audience. Point the F-holes of your instrument to the audience, and be sure everyone can see your face.
Check that your pianist is ready before starting.
Play to the back row of the audience – a confident tone lets everyone enjoy your sound!
Smile! Each recital celebrates your dedication and skill. Congratulations on your musical journey!
Before the Recital – Setting the Stage for Success
Prepare your children for the spotlight by praising their effort and improvement. Remind each child how much you love to hear them play music.
Give your child every advantage readying them to perform their piece confidently at least two weeks before the recital.
Remember that negative comments fuel future stage fright, so release your inner cheerleader and support your kids through both good and bad practice days. Admire their ability to persevere despite difficulty.
Host a mini recital for family at home or for relatives over Skype a week or two before the recital date. Applaud, applaud, applaud!
Gather important supplies the night before the recital – shoes, shoulder rest, everything! – and have it all ready to go. Leave plenty of time to get to the recital venue and keep the family mood calm and happy.