Saturday, May 28, 2011

Student Musicians Enjoy Butterfly-Free Recitals

Three Days of Varied Programs

Surprises Fill Performance Week

Spring recitals are a rite of passage at the close of a school year. However, this season my music students enjoyed a variation of the formal event that was almost butterfly-free and beneficial for all concerned.

When preferences for three proposed recital dates came back equally divided, I decided to combine back-to-back students into small groups, allowing each to play several pieces for their invited guests.

This was a treat especially for the pianists, who normally perform only 1-2 selections at spring recitals. The violinists usually play a solo and several songs as a group.

Students had a great time creating repertoire lists the week preceding the performance classes. Programs ranged from one to six solos. The musicians, whose ages range from 6 to 15, represent seven area schools.

Power Outage Strikes Schedule

On Monday, the first of three performance days, I was still casually drinking my morning coffee when a Wesleyan mother called to ask if the recitals were still on since a power failure had cancelled classes at the the academy.

I learned that the electricity had been restored, but school was definitely out except for high schoolers whose exam schedule was revised to start at 11. Students and parents were contacted via email or text, and our classes were back on schedule, too.

Monday's first duo partnered Payton, a freshman, and third grader Chase. Parents and an uncle completed their audience as the musicians shared everything from Bach to Joplin to the "Saints."

Like their teacher, they are avid Tar Heel basketball fans and have shared many celebrations -- and a few pity parties -- following Carolina games.

Due to the day's schedule snafu, one student, Brenda, was unable to attend the piano class. Her partner, Haley, presented a six-piece program for a family friend, her dad, and mom via video recorder.

The girls had planned an interesting program of literature, pop, Disney, hymns, and even a 12-bar blues improv.

A trio of pianists -- Miranda, her brother Mitch, and Cawyn, who studies at my home -- performed 16 songs for their families. Their teacher played the duet part for "Amazing Grace" and "Rock Song."

Violinists Invite Moms To Sing

Wednesday's sessions began with Tatum and Raegan, elementary string students who performed solos and duets for their moms. Their program featured Suzuki lit (the "Twinkle Variations" and "Andantino"), "Edelweiss," and "Love Me Tender," with some vocals from the audience.

The second group spotlighted Joseph and Caleb, two talented middle school composers. Unfortunately, their schedules only overlap for a few minutes, so they each played for family members.

Both performed compositions from this semester, Joseph's temporarily entitled "Spring" and Caleb's "The Quiet One."

Caleb also added "Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho," "Scarborough Fair," "Volga Boatman," a piece he is arranging for his guitar class, and another composition, "Skeletal Waltz."

iPhone Records Student Compositions

My iPhone, a tool we have employed all semester as a tuner, a metronome, and a handy recorder of compositions and prepared pieces, wasn't even on my radar this week. It's a wonder I remembered to turn off the ringer!

Special thanks to Scarlett for converting the mp4's to mp3's and getting them into a player. From lesson recordings, the player contains the opening of Joseph's composition; a partial of Caleb's "The Quiet One" (working title);
"Hope," written by Jessicca for Mother's Day. Click on each song to play.

Three cousins and their family members filled the studio for Wednesday's final group. Ora, a violinist, performed "The Two Grenadiers" by Schumann, her favorite fiddle tune, and "Over the Rainbow."

Her brother
Jeremy, a pianist, played Cathedral Bells," a Bach minuet, and two piano duets with his teacher, "Crown Him with Many Crowns" and "America the Beautiful."

In addition to the special Mother's Day composition, their cousin Jessicca performed the Pachelbel Canon and "Amazing Grace."

Fiddle Tunes, Musicals, Classics

Five violinists -- Tatum, Raegan, and Ora from WCA, Erica and Anna from Our Lady of Grace (OLG) -- gathered at my home Thursday to perform solos and play as much of their ensemble literature as we could in an hour.

WCA violin solos received a second run, Erica played Bach's Minuet in G, and Anna performed Gavotte in D Major by Bach.

Repertoire for this group is varied -- fiddle tunes, selections from The Sound of Music, a Disney set, folk songs, and more. We closed with a classic and their current favorite, "Over the Rainbow."

This blog's most entertaining art will have to be in your imagination. Picture the teacher completing last minute house-cleaning -- a bum left knee, vacuum in one hand and cane in the other, chasing away dust mites in the living room.

Just because it's almost summertime the music doesn't stop.

Students will have a break next week, but many will resume lessons the following Tuesday and Thursday. Several will perform programs in area retirement homes this summer.

Have a very special Memorial Day Weekend, all!

Caro/Ms B


Sandy said...

That was quite the week you had!

Finally we got to hear your students play! Great idea Caro and let them know they were all awesome! Of course they have a great teacher so how could they not be!

Have a great week!


limey said...

That sounds like a wonderful program I bet everyone enjoyed it!

Ginger Scarlett said...

Hi Caro! Glad to hear that your students are able to showcase more of their work on these "more personalized" recitals. When you told me about your schedule last week, I thought it would be too much effort on your part. However, I now see the added opportunities that this provides and your talented students responded so well to the challenge. The range of music they showcased was amazing - wish there were a way to see more of their work.

Congratulations to everyone! What an amazing job you all did!

Sally said...

I so enjoyed listening to these compositions. Each student has their own unique style, and expression.

Thank you, Caro. And please thank the delightful musicians for sharing their promise and inspiration.

Carolina Clay said...


First, thank you to all who dropped by the Carolina blog and its parallel version at the OFC to comment about our student recitals.

I am posting the OFC remarks here so that parents and students can read them.

Thnx again to the students and their parents for the hard work and to the Carolina/OFC readers for your support!

Have a great week, all!
Caro/Ms B

Newspaper wrote:

What a list of credits! Wish I could have been sitting in on some of those performances.

They sound varied and very interesting. It's so good to know
so many young people are interested and love the "music" in their life!

Congratulations! For all you are willing and able to do

marianhookailo wrote:

The description of each concert is amazing as are you (quoting
"Newspaper"), and I tip my hat off to you for teaching chidren and
their loved ones all the wonders of REAL MUSIC.

I believe you do more than you realize to keep quality music alive in this wonderful way. Stay well and keep the music going - your way!

Much love to you and your great family.

Musically yours,

cwizior wrote:

What a wonderful blog! It's nice to hear about such devotion to teaching children music. It's also nice to hear that children are willing to put the time and effort into their craft to be able to perform, not one, but several pieces of music for their family and friends.

You are a special person, Caro, for all you do to bring music into the lives of these children. Thank you for sharing!


luvtigr wrote:

Caro, U r a special person and the patience U must have...:)

I sure am happy for the children that get to learn from U and do such a nice job at it all!

Thanks for all U do to keep us posted and up to date on things of all kinds. Take care.

Newspaper wrote:

Joseph, Caleb, and Jessicca's compositions were so beautifully sweet. Please let them know how much they were appreciated.


Anonymous said...

Hi Caro,

Better Late then never....Wow! What talented students you have and how lucky they all are to have you as their mucic instructer. You sure have been a very busy lady.

Please let them all know how much I loved hearing their music.....and Thank You for shareing.

Big Hugs,