December 14th marked Liesl's 12th violin recital, and an entire year of performances. It was a momentous occasion for her, as she was playing "Lightly Row" for the last time at a very respectable tempo--without her Bow Right. This is like a little kid loosing training wheels on her bike. She is now able to concentrate enough on keeping her bowing arm straight enough not to need the guide anymore. We haven't consistently used the thing in practice for well over a month, so now it's been packed away for when Ava is ready to begin using Liesl's first 1/16 violin. Since this was right before her 4th birthday, she closed out her third year with quite a bang. :-) We are immensely proud of her and how much she enjoys performances (and, to be honest, the cookies she gets at the reception afterwards.)
I also played in the fall chamber music group: a Mozart piece, a Haydn piece, a Broadway showtune....and Coldplay. (I mean, c'mon, when you think of Mozart and Haydn, you automatically put Coldplay in the same category, right???) Seriously, halfway through the fall term, Sharon announced to us that we were adding an encore piece to our chamber repertoire and would play an instrumental version of "Viva la Vida" for the recital. After resisting the urge to hire an exorcist for her, it took me about a solid day to realize she wasn't kidding. (This woman is PURE classical, and don't try to convince her otherwise!) It turned out to be a very enjoyable piece, and very challenging. There were revised lyrics sung by a brother of one of the violinists, lyrics that reflected things that were happening in our teacher's life. It was a very moving experience. I daresay even Mozart would have been proud (if not mildly horrified.)
The other significant part of this recital for me was that it was the first time I performed publicly while doing shifts and vibrato. Not perfectly, mind...but I overcame my nervousness and managed to get those shifts and vibrato out. :-)
My violin teacher's former Interlochen classmate and very good friend, Mr. John Haskell Gilbert, came and played with her professional quartet at our recital as well. We were very lucky to get a chance to come and watch one of the rehearsals with the girls (I gave them lollipops to keep them quiet.) Much to the dismay of the 3 violinists in our household, Ava is showing a very marked interest in the cello....every time we visit a quartet rehearsal, she is extremely concerned that Sharon's cellist, Karen, has her instrument on the floor. There are usually a few comments: "Uh-oh....vi-in on fwor! Vi-in on fwor!" (I'm assuming you can come up with a reasonably accurate translation, even if you are not entirely familiar with Ava-speak.) In our house, it's a huge taboo to leave instruments on the floor where they can get stepped on and broken. Even Ava is not allowed to leave her beat-up V.S.O. violin or horsehairless bow on the floor (although stepping on the thing would probably improve it, but this is not the point.) Thus, the endless commentary on why a cello is allowed to rest on the floor--have you ever seen a 2 year-old try to lift a full-size cello under her chin?
Because of this marked interest in the vi-in on the fwor, I have been making
All kidding aside...it is great fun to watch and listen to a string quartet play and really get a live feel for the sounds of the viola and cello. Even if it's on the fwor.
Thus ends a terrific first year of violin study for our entire household. We look forward to more musical fun and adventures for 2010.