December 18, 2013

5 Pipers Piping.

I know there is music in heaven.
I've heard it.

Our Christmas is musical.
From band and choir concerts, to church and town Christmas programs, my children are constantly singing or playing Christmas music.
I love it!

This year is the first year I've noticed kids naturally singing parts when we sing Christmas songs together.  

We have a volunteer accompanist on almost every song we sing.  My kids are still slow and stumble a bit with two hands, but they almost good enough to really play while we sing.

Last night I sat on the couch of our new piano teacher as she coached three eighth grade boys.  Drew is singing a solo in the town's messiah sing along.  (I was so excited and surprised that he agreed to do it.)  He was practicing with two other boys.  They were adorable.  

Seriously, my eyes filled with tears listening to them practice.  In this day and age of harshness, there is something beautiful in teenage boys singing the Messiah.  

I feel so blessed that my children have musical opportunities.

They start band here in 3rd grade.  The elemen"tarry" band teacher is a saint!
The kids sounded great.  

This year we have 5 piano players, 2 trumpets, 1 French-horn, 1clarinet and a partridge in a pear tree.

Anna and Ellie sang in a select choir for elemen"tarry" school.  The select choir sang with a group of teachers.  It was really fun to listen to.  

I think music was one of the reasons we moved to Tully.  I'm grateful for the opportunities my kids have.  

Music is beautiful and eternal.
I know it.

In other news...
Todd and I are officially New Yorkers.
Check out our DMV pictures-


Evaly said...

How do you get them to practice?? We quit piano because I realized that I don't have the discipline to remember to make her do it! Now we are doing clarinet and it was going well at first but we are hitting the same roadblock. I want to tell my pretty-much-11-year-old to practice and have her just go and do it independently, but it doesn't happen unless I sit right there next to her. Of course, all the kids need me after school so it never happens or we completely forget. And now I think the band teacher hates me (because my kid doesn't practice) which upsets me even more because I am such a people pleaser! Any tips?

jenifer said...

Evaly- hang in there! Even if your daughter doesn't practice, she is still learning. Your band teacher is used to kids that don't practice. She doesn't hate you-- she is helping you teach your child. (You're both on the same team!) Even with no practice, it is still a good thing. Saying that- practicing is a great skill for your daughter to learn and now is a great time to teach her.
-have a heart to heart, ask her how her music is going and how she thinks things can improve. Tell her what you expect and ask how you can help. If practicing with her is unrealistic, tell her you wish you could but can't.
-Set up a practice chart and talk about a fun, positive incentive for a perfect practice week.
-Let music be a positive. Don't correct her (at first), if she plays the same song 20 times, just praise that song and gently ask if she's learning anything else.
-Set up a place where she can practice that is close to the kitchen. Having a set place and a spot for music takes away a lot of stress. Talk to her while you are cooking dinner.
-Practice first thing! Make a fun treat that she can eat as soon as she finishes practice. Or, let her watch TV after her practicing is done.
-Be at home and focused after school. I try to plan my days so that after school I am focused on kids, homework, and practice. I start to cook dinner at 3 while the kids are nearby getting their stuff done. (We eat by 5:30 so nights aren't crazy.) They can't play or watch cartoons until they are done with their homework, practicing, and maybe a chore like putting away their laundry. I am not on the phone or computer-- but I do occasionally have to run to pick kids up.

The best thing you can do, in my opinion, is create a home environment that is calm and organized. She needs to feel like she has time to practice, time to do her homework and time to rest. When things are crazy, I might write a note or call the teacher to say we had a busy week with not much practicing. No guilt! A little is better than none at all! Don't quit!

Kids like to play instruments, but they don't like stress. Be careful not to equate the two by letting her feel your frustration.

-If you do have to sit with her, act like she knows more than you. Have her show you how to play a certain note. If she does something wrong, laugh and have her try again. Be grateful to spend that time with her. Imagine her as a famous musician, thanking you for the hours you helped her practice.

Honestly, I have older children who manage their time amazingly. I have two, around your daughter's age, that don't always practice happily. They feel so good about themselves when they are able to do all they want to do. When they get stressed out, they say they hate piano- but they mean they hate being so busy. When I help gaurd their time, they naturally love piano.

Good luck! It is a busy life! My kids stay late for drama, then have 30 min of piano, 30 min of instrument, homework, a dish job and showers. It is a full day and we are NOT perfect at it. We aim for peace and deal with reality! Hang in there! She'll get this.

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