Friday, November 30, 2012
She loves teaching and says that one of her fondest memories of being a young Suzuki student was the great time she always had at ISSI every summer. She says it helped her see her progress from year to year, and really helped her enjoy her instrument! In fact, she credits ISSI as one of the corner stones that helped her stick with her violin through those busy teenage years. In her words, "I love ISSI!"
Amy is committed to teacher education and finds ways to constantly reexamine and improve her teaching. In addition to her Suzuki teacher training, she has also attended the SAA Convention in Minneapolis and recently finished the "Suzuki Principles in Action" course with Pat D'Ercole this past Fall.
We are lucky to have her on our team!
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
"This one's for the young jedis: I'm so glad that I didn't quit. I'm glad that I didn't quit when I was 12 and thought that violin was nerdy. I'm glad that I didn't quit when I was 19 or 20 or 21 when I injured my shoulder and didn't know if I'd really play again. I'm glad that I didn't quit at 26 when I didn't understand how I fit into the music world. I'm glad that I didn't quit when I was 30 or 35 because life would be easier without practice. Tonight I felt music in my heart more deeply than ever. Don't quit young jedis. Stay with your practice. It's worth it."
Friday, October 19, 2012
She was given the opportunity to join the ISSI board as the viola representative and, as she puts it, she "couldn't say no! There has been a need for some time to get the viola love back at ISSI." She attended when she was a student and loved to see old friend and make new ones. "Being a violist is more than playing the instrument," Aisha says. "You become part of a small but passionate group of dedicated musicians and good people." She is still friends today with the friends she made at ISSI. She is still in touch with her teachers from ISSI. When she returned to teaching full time she was sad to see that there weren't very many violists at ISSI. "That is my mission!" she replies. "We will build the viola program back to what it used to be."
Sunday, September 30, 2012
We are especially excited to celebrate the 35th year of ISSI in 2013 with a piece commissioned especially for the occasion. Written by our own faculty member, Michael McLean, "ISSI Gettin' Down" will be performed by all ISSI students in the final concert Saturday. What a way to commemorate this milestone! Music is already posted online; view it and listen to it at this link here and get practicing!
Also at the meeting, we were introduced to two new board members: Amy Norton (violin) and Aisha Johnson (viola). We are thrilled to have their enthusiasm, support, and energy to add to our efforts! Individual spotlights on them both are soon to come.
As we wrapped up Thursday's meeting, Ramona Stirling made an off-hand comment about how "It's amazing what one person can do." This comment resonated deeply with me, as I sat there surrounded by such talented, capable, committed teachers and parents; all adding to this extraordinary effort to create positive, nurturing experiences for our young people.
And if it's true that it's amazing what one person can do, think of all we can do when we unite together behind such a worthy cause: the education and betterment of our children through music.
So here's to ISSI 2013: Can't wait to see you there!
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Sunday, July 1, 2012
And then I don't feel so bad!
Thursday, June 21, 2012
Sometimes mid-week can be tough, as we come to terms with the amount of energy we've spent, and amount of work and learning ahead of us.
So, kick back, relax, and allow a few of these scenes to pick you up and get you through the home stretch!
Tuesday, June 19, 2012
Three of my favorite moments so far include...
This violin group class balancing gummy bears on the tops of their violins as they walk around the room, practicing good balance
This quintessential scene from ISSI: a mother listening to her child practice outside on the lawn during lunch.
And (this has to be my favorite) this little guy snuggling into his brother's cello case during the brother's masterclass. Yes folks, you read this correctly: this little brother was wrapped in the cello case as if it were a sleeping bag. !
Sunday, June 17, 2012
Music has been copied, pieces practiced, instruments tuned and polished. Faculty have arrived, schedules printed, t-shirts folded. Packets are stuffed, day care forms filled out, bags packed.
Tomorrow, hundreds of wonderful students will arrive with their families to participate in ISSI 2012!
I'm looking forward to the energy, inspiration, and the cello concert on Friday at 1 pm!
What are you looking forward to this year?
Friday, June 1, 2012
But the thing I remember the most about my first Institute is that every day for lunch, my mom would buy me a small box of plain M&M's. I wouldn't eat them right away, but saved them for the afternoon, when we would go watch other classes. As a beginner, my schedule wasn't all that full, so my mom and I were free to do as we wished in the afternoons. To be honest, that extra time with my mom was my favorite part about the whole week. And it's something I remember with fondness and gratitude every single time I enjoy a plain M&M.
There are so may wonderful reasons to attend Institute: the motivation it brings to students, the chance to learn new and exciting pieces for chamber groups and performance classes, the opportunity to work with amazing and inspiring teachers. But for me that first year, the most wonderful thing about Institute was that time I had with my mom, and the way that experience bound us together with a closeness that was as sweet as the chocolate that melted in my mouth (not in my hand).
I look forward to sharing many memories and M&M's with my own daughters as we begin our own Institute attendance.
So, what are some of your favorite ISSI memories?
Friday, April 13, 2012
Going to a summer institute for the first time can be intimidating for both parents and students. Have you ever wondered what makes institute so special and important? Are you nervous about where to go and what to do? Will your child have a good time and be motivated? Will the money and time you have already invested be worthwhile?
As a violin teacher and a veteran institute mom, I can promise you that going to Institute is one of the most valuable things you can do for your budding musician. Spending a week focusing on the technical and musical aspects of their instrument will provide invaluable musical growth for your child. But more than that, being immersed in music-making and surrounded by like-minded peers, as well as a world-renowned faculty will provides motivation and excitement that can’t be replicated.
So are you looking for some insider “tips and tricks” to make your experience great? Are you wondering how to get the most out of Institute?
First, approach the Institute week with an open mind and encourage your student to be flexible and willing to try things that are new and different. Institute is a great opportunity to make new friends and have new experiences! You will have the privilege to work with many teachers, and one of the most valuable parts of institute is being able to learn from great teachers from all over the world. It’s very likely that they will have ideas that are different from your teacher at home does. Be flexible and open to trying things different ways all week long. Don’t automatically dismiss an idea just because it’s unlike anything you’ve ever done before. Go for it! Experiment, have fun with new ideas, approaches and perspectives. Often, a technique exercise or game introduced at Institute will help your child understand an idea or concept that they’ve been struggling with, just because it was presented in a new or unique way.
Second, do your best to commit to really being at Institute all day, every day. While it is difficult to drop everything and focus on music for an entire week, think of how that shows your child that their study of music is a priority! There are so many new things to learn and experience: this may be the first time your child plays in an orchestra or chamber group, the first time they have ever played their cello this much in a single day, the first time they’ve performed on a concert stage for hundreds of people, or the first time they’ve realized how exciting music can be. Soak it up, take lots of notes and lots of pictures. There are wonderful concerts at lunch time and every night. Attend as many of these as you can, not only are they geared towards our younger audience, but they are a polished, inspiring example of what we are all striving towards. There are parent seminars held throughout the day as well, check your concert guide for a schedule and take advantage of those classes to get some new ideas for you! My daughter and I look forward to Institute every year because of all the concentrated time we get to spend one on one with each other, and what a gift that is in our busy society!
Third, be willing to make new friends. Institute can be a wonderful time to connect with parents and students from many varied places, all of whom are working on the same goals, and experiencing the same joys and frustrations you do. Be willing to strike up a conversation, sit with someone new at lunch, or help a mom with a stroller up or down the stairs. We have so much in common, especially at Institute, and there is something so refreshing and enriching that comes when we share the joys and the
frustrations with people who are in the trenches with us. Also rewarding is watching your child make fast friends with other kids in their masterclass, chamber group, or enrichment class, and then seeing them squeal with delight when they get to renew that friendship year after year.
Finally, here are some practical tips. Bring a backpack to carry all your supplies in and stock it with healthy snacks and a water bottle or two. Kids work hard at Institute, and I’ve found that some simple, healthy snacks like grapes, string cheese or crackers go a long way towards keeping their energy and their attitude up. If your child is younger, you might want to consider a coloring book and crayons or some kind of quiet activity to keep their hands busy during the concerts. You might also want a book or some knitting for you while your child is busily occupied in a group class. Take advantage of the beautiful school grounds and go outside during a break or lunchtime to get some fresh air and burn off some energy. And finally, make sure both you and your student get plenty of sleep during the week. You are going to want to be well rested and fresh for a fantastic week of music making!
Going to a summer institute is one of the best things you can do for your young string player. You will experience amazing musical growth and new motivation in your child, and walk away with some new tools, tricks, and motivation for you as well. Enjoy the experience- it will change your life!
submitted by Stacy Smith
Sunday, April 1, 2012
10. You feel like you have practiced the Twinkle Variations over 1000 times with your child (and you're probably right)
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Monday, January 2, 2012
Tips from Tabitha:
This month's newsletter is on the three types of listening. Edward Kreitman says there are three types of listening: passive, parallel, and active listening.Passive ListeningThis is the type of listening done in the car or at home...or anywhere where it's not the primary activity going on.This is the way the student learns melodies, quality of tone, and intonation.Another good idea for this type of listening comes from Michele Horner. She calls it "listening like a maniac." Each day, you listen to the song you're on at least 10 times in a row, then switch to the next song 10 times in a row, and finally the song after that 10 times in a row. Michele Horner did this with her own daughter and was able to learn faster. I have been doing this with Seth, and it has been much easier to for him to learn the next song. One thing to mention is that it's important to listen to the rest of the CD and the other CD's also.Parallel ListeningThis type of listening is listening to the higher books while you are in a lower book. For example, listen to book 4 while you're in book 1. You should listen to all books as early as possible.This listening builds great vision for the parent and the student (and they will know the pieces much better). It is also good to hear other classical music as much as possible.Active/Targeted ListeningThis is where you have the student listen specifically to one part of the music during practicing and hear specific detail to learn from listening.This has been helpful to us for a couple of reasons. It has helped Seth learn the song easier, it gives him a break of playing during practicing, and it is training his mind to listen to the details of the piece. When he was learning Humoresque, I had him listen specifically to the order of the piece with the music in front of him. Since he is learning to read music, having him look at the music and identify the sections gave him confidence in reading music and added visual input to help him learn the piece. He played it in the right order a lot easier than some of the pieces before that.Here are some examples of other questions you could ask:"How many slurs do you hear in each line?""Do you hear the 1st or 2nd ending here?""Does this section repeat?""Where does the first part end?""Do you hear legato or staccato bowing?""Are the notes on or off the string?"You can even point to the music to show how the slurs are or the staccato bowing is written...where the repeat is, or where the 1st or 2nd ending is.All in all...KEEP LISTENING...it might save you from going crazy!!!