It’s been a challenging year musically for all three kids. Erin moved away, and though the other kids would never articulate that she was a motivating force in their music studies, she certainly “normalized” diligent daily practicing around our house. Not only that, but as a member of the Suzuki group class and of Summit Strings she had provided herself as one of the scarce “advanced role models” in our little musical backwater.
Sophie started school full-time in September. And she joined Corazón Youth Choir. Both of which have enriched her life in many ways, but have also eaten up the lion’s share of her creative energy and time. The lifestyle change involved in going to school is not to be under-estimated. And so, with very little time and motivation going into her violin, she decided to drop lessons last fall. She continued to prepare ensemble music for the Summit Strings concert which was a huge program they presented a couple of weeks ago.
She’s continuing to mess around with her violin, working on some little Kreisler pieces that she likes, and she’s asked for occasional coaching from me or her grandmother. She plans to get back to working consistently on her violin and would like to attend SVI this summer. For this recital she chose to play “Meditation from Thais” with her Summit Strings sidekick Danika. It was an oldie for both of them, easy to pull out and perform without too much polishing work required. It’s tough to play in unison with just one other person; I thought they did an excellent job.
Noah had an almost full-time course load at school last semester and the lifestyle change struck him amidships as well. He had a viola lesson on September 9th and that was the end of it. He had been getting monthly or bimonthly lessons in Calgary for the previous two years but he had always hated the travel and felt guilty about the scanty work he’d done between lessons. We were taking Erin, so bringing him along was no big deal and he tolerated it. But this year, with his work ethic on viola still suffering, Erin moved away and no one providing us with a very good reason to drive for two days every month, we decided to just let the lessons go.
Like Sophie, he’s continued to be committed to the Summit Strings ensemble music and performances. And he did a couple of Symphony gigs with me in Cranbrook, where he showed a lot of improvement in orchestral skills and confidence. But as for practicing solo repertoire, that pretty much stopped last August. Yet he pulled out the first movement of Schubert’s Arpeggione Sonata, which he had almost finished learning the notes of last summer, and in his usual infuriating way put a mere couple of hours of practicing into bringing up to a fair degree of polish. It’s a really big piece, both technically and musically. He did some masterful work with it in very short order.
Fiona continues to take weekly lessons with her grandmother. And for the most part she practices. But with Erin moved away and Noah and Sophie spending so little time on their instruments and doing so many exciting things away from home and away from Fiona, it has been hard to stay motivated. More so than the other kids Fiona’s interests have always been socially driven to an extent: she loves doing things in part because the people she loves also like doing them. But she is beginning to figure out that violin playing has value for herself as an individual, not just as a member of a musically active sibship. And so she keeps working away, is looking forward to SVI and continues to practice most days. She played the first movement from Handel Sonata No. 3 in F Major.