Saturday, September 12, 2009

Suzuki students are the awesome.

So concert per se went well. Soloists did a great job. They ranged from five years old up to twelve; playing thirty-seconds up to five minutes from memory. Our accompanist was marvellous; I'm so lucky she is a Suzuki parent and sensitive to each child's character and personality. And the group pieces were lovely; gave everyone ELSE the opportunity to get up and perform for their parents/grandparents/etc. The disappointing thing? Sixteen students no-shows. I had forewarning for ten of those, and six just didn't show.

There will always be last-minute things; we're talking about primary-school-age children and life happens. At the same time, I'm really disheartened. The kids who came are motivated; they go into the holidays with a role model and will often try to play the piece THAT kid played, or be excited about what's coming up now they've SEEN someone else their own age play it.

The kids who missed out...miss out. And I think that for some of them they're actually missing out on a bigger message; concerts aren't just about THEM playing, they're about coming together as a community and being a supportive audience for everyone else, too. When a parent says (verbally or otherwise) "Oh, it's not such a big deal if we miss out, you were only going to play two pieces" I feel they're missing the point.

On the other hand, I know one child left halfway through because of a party. Am I annoyed? No, we compromised. I don't want her to feel like HAVING to play violin made her miss out on a party, and the party child & her parents came and sat in the audience for her (the violinist), understanding this was a big deal for her too. I understand we're all busy. I'm just disappointed by the choices some families make - especially when I feel they don't really understand the repercussions or ripples of their actions.

Some people who I DO know understand... all the yoga teachers beaming from the third row. Not just my very lovely inlaws, but some serious community. They all know who they are, and I am very grateful they came; even if it was merely for my sake and not for the artistic quality on display...although, we have a REAL concert. We don't sit there with polite, strained smiles. The applause tonight was heartfelt and thoroughly warranted.  My teacher was present tonight; I know she'll call me in the next few days and ask me about every child who played.

Funnily, during our "run mad with cookies" time I pointed out to my husband that two of my students are taller than me now. (I'm not especially short, but these are Grade 6 kids) One of the dads (T's dad) came and thanked me and said "You know, I remember when all our kids were the little ones in the front row, and now.... you have all these tiny ones." Yep. I currently have seven Grade 6 kids. Five of them have been with me since their prep year. This year I've taken on seven "babies" (three/four-year-olds).

Where will we be in another six years?

Tonight's concert programme:

Busy Busy Stop Stop (all)
O Come, Little Children (5yo S)
May Song (all)
Long, Long Ago (6yo G)
Allegro (8yo O)
Minuet 1 (all)
Musette (11yo R)
Two Grenadiers (all)
Witches' Dance (6yo S)
Boccherini Minuet (7yo C)
Gavotte in G Minor (all)
Bach Bourree (11yo J)
Seitz Concerto mvt 1 (7yo E)
Seitz Concerto mvt 2 (11yo J)
Bach Bourree (12yo T)
Vivaldi A Minor 1st mvt (10yo T)


Madame DeFarge said...

I used to love playing and singing in school concerts. I always felt rather special doing so. Gave me great confidence to stand up in front of people. Hope the children enjoyed themselves.

histreasure said...

you are doing something wonderful with those kids... i really love the violin, cant play tho..wouldn't even know how to strike a chord but i plan for my kids to learn
keep doing the good job

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Dear madam,

I am worried about you. Your twitter thing to the right of your posting runs as follows:

2 days ago: BED BED BED BED BED

1 day ago: You know it's time to sleep when your eyelids start ticcing.

Am I to surmise that you didn't make it to bed two days ago and have been running on caffeine and catgut strings for the last 48 hours?

Please sleep, otherwise I'll be forced to organise an intervention.

omchelsea said...

Madam DF: They certainly seemed to! They're a lovely pack of kids and it's awesome to see the camaraderie developing between some very disparate ages and situations.

histreasure: Thanks! I really recommend you take the time to do some reading and find a teacher who you and your children connect well with; it will be a great investment in their future.

Matthew: The sleeping thing was a bit touch and go....but I could probably sleep for my country. More a case of having crammed an awful lot into some very stretched days and trying to drink no more than two cups (one tsp/cup) of coffee per day.
Don't worry, I made up for it this morning :) and I am your first follower! hooray!