We’ve been a part of the Ohio Music Teacher’s Association Ribbon Festival for two presidential terms. I can prove it with these links!

2009 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015

Julia played in her first Ribbon Festival the year President Obama took office. Lucy played in her first and (Julia played in her fifth) when he started his second term. It’s President Obama’s last year in the White House. I don’t know who our president will be next year, but I’m thinking a lot about that and also the fact that next year should hopefully, finally, be Phoebe’s first Ribbon Festival and maybe also Jackson’s.

Lucy and Julia at the 2016 Ribbon Festival

This year, Lucy played Au Clair de la Lune, which is my favorite song from Book One.

Lucy plays Au Clair de la Lune at the Ribbon Festival

Here’s what the judge said about it.

Beautiful singing tone! Your balance between the hands was very good and I can tell you’ve worked hard on that performance aspect. Remember to keep the wrists supported and up so you have greater control of your fingers and the piano keys. Be aware of your pinkies – can they be closer to the other fingers of your hand when when they’re not playing? Sometimes 5th fingers like to fly away, so inviting them to join in with the other fingers will help your hand work as a unit. It can take some time to get the 5th fingers to work with the others, so keep practicing. Review notes starting from each line so memory can be secure and comfortable. You really use your ear to listen to the sounds you are creating. Great job today! Thank you for playing.

Julia played the Vivace movement of Clementi’s Sonatina in C Major, Op 36, No. 1 from Book Three.

Julia plays the Vivace movement of Clementi's Sonatina in C Major, Op 36, No. 1 at the Ribbon Festival

(The shaky camera work and the scream at the end of the video were courtesy of Jackson. The abrupt cutoff marks the moment I’d HAD ENOUGH!)

This is what her judge said.

– Very clean playing and a steady rhythm.
– Like your touch and sound very much
– Nice expression
– Try to be more flexible with your wrists – may make it easier to play the scales
– Well done and keep up the good work!

I was proud of the girls and so was their teacher who – for the first time – was not Mr. Palmer. After 36 years of teaching, Mr. Palmer closed his studio and retired last August.

Lucy and Julia with Mr. Palmer at his retirement reception

He taught us so much and the impact he’s had on our lives is immense. And we’re just one of so many families that feel the same way. I am thankful for Mr. Palmer. He is an exceptional teacher and an extraordinary man. We miss seeing him every week.

Mr. Palmer's Studio

Julia at the piano at Mr. Palmer's Studio

He’ll be a part of who we are forever.