Phoebe loves to watch Hailey’s Magical Playhouse on YouTube. I can’t remember how we discovered it, but it has been her favorite thing to watch ever since. She wants to watch it all the time! ALL. THE. TIME. So, when she asked if she could make her own videos, I said YES! YES! I thought it seemed like a lot more fun than just watching videos or hearing me say no when she repeatedly asked to watch more videos. Here’s her first one. She’s very proud of it.
She’s the first drummer on the left, except for the last song in which she is the bass drum player on the right.
She loves band. She’s been practicing with the high school marching band after school, learning the marimba and playing the synthesizer. She’s also been writing music.
Earlier this year, she put together a couple songs and gave them to her school principal along with a letter asking her to consider playing one or both of them at the school Valentine’s dance, which she did.
She told me she wants to be a composer. I told her she already is.
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.
This year, Lucy played Au Clair de la Lune, which is my favorite song from Book One.
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.
(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.
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.
Saturday night, Lucy stood behind the Tuscarawas Philharmonic Orchestra with the Children’s Chorus and performed. She sang beautifully and with her whole heart. (And I could not help but remember this.)
The Children’s Chorus was an incredible experience for Lucy. The Orchestra Music Director and Conductor, Eric Benjamin, rehearsed with the chorus for six weeks to prepare for the annual Yuletide Celebration and he was amazing. He was exuberant and fun and knew how to connect with the kids. Lucy was scared the first day. She cried and we nearly left, but one of the assistants invited her to just stay and watch. So we stayed and she stood next to me watching rather than join the rest of the chorus. About halfway through that rehearsal, she started to participate. And when it was done, Mr. Eric gave her some encouragement to come back and bring a friend. She did.
The next week was better and the third week, they kicked the parents out of the room and it was even better yet. She was inspired. She sang all the time and we all got to know her songs. But there was nothing like seeing them performed. This is her favorite song from the performance. Night of Silence.
I cried. It was just so beautiful.
When I picked her up after the show, the rehearsal room was electric. The kids were so enlivened. They all knew they’d done something very special. It was amazing. I was grateful that she could be a part of it.
Julia sat next to me at Lucy’s performance. She was excited to see the orchestra perform. She joined the band this year and has just begun to feel what it’s like to play with a group. She’s playing drums and had her first concert on Sunday.
This is her favorite song from her performance. Jolly Old Saint Nicholas. She played the bass drum for this one.
She told me she’d liked to learn to play an instrument from every instrument family.
I made Phoebe mad recently. She took my phone and recorded herself crying and gave it to me as a memento of her sadness, and also my meanness because “look what you did, Mom.”
I asked her if I could share it with you and she was delighted for you to witness her suffering. Somehow I think we’ll be recalling this video one day when she’s accepting an Oscar or getting arrested for her performance art.
The kid loves to put on a show. Last night, she stood on a chair at the dinner table and asked for our attention so she could sing a song that she gleefully introduced as, “Mom’s gonna hate this!”
Her favorite thing right now is dance class. She got to be a Nutcracker Bon Bon in our studio’s Holiday Show.
Julia performed as well – her last in tumbling as she’s now moved to jazz.
Lucy tumbled, too.
Phoebe also chose to ride in a Christmas parade with her friends from dance last Friday.
Saturday, Lucy rode and sang in another Christmas parade with the Tuscarawas Philharmonic Children’s Chorus.
She has a Christmas concert this Saturday. Julia will be playing drums in her first school band concert on Sunday. And this is a typical scene at our house (including the banana peel on the coffee table).
All the shows. All for me, their ever-loving and enduring audience.
Lucy performed Mary Had a Little Lamb beautifully.
She gets so very nervous about playing for people, but she retained her composure and pulled off her best performance to date. Phoebe was so proud of her sister that she stood and shouted, “You did it! You did a great job, Lucy!”
The judge had this to say.
Lucy, I must comment first on your beautiful dress! And you played beautifully, too! Your fingers got into the keys and you created a lovely tone. Your rhythm was very accurate. Think about changing the dynamics when phrases repeat. I know the music doesn’t tell you to do it, but we can do so to make our playing expressive. Your hand position looks good – keep thinking about curling your 5th fingers – they are the most stubborn. Keep up the good work and make Festival an annual goal.
Julia performed the first and second movement of Beethoven’s Sonatina in G Major.
She was on top of the world because her fifth grade science/intervention teacher came to see her play. He really made her feel special. His show of support moved my heart. I won’t forget it and neither will she.
Here’s what the judge said about her performance.
Beethoven would surely have been proud of your performance today for its accuracy of notes and rhythms, steadiness of tempo, and security of memory.
I do think that you could have played the piano sections of this famous piece more gently. Some things you could have done with greater sensitivity, such as the diminuendo rounding-off in movement I, measures 8 and 24, and you could have done the crescendo-decrescendo better sometimes.
I couldn’t be prouder of those girls. Oh, and these two, as well.