Mid-Semester Update

This week wraps up the first quarter of the ’16-’17 school year at West County Strings.  Over the course of this first quarter, Kirby and I have had the pleasure of seeing students make consistent individual progress, break reach personal goals and break personal barriers, and come together and bond as a unit in group classes.  It’s also been a lot of fun to see parents getting to know each other better at group classes and other activities as they discuss life, parenting, and how to best help our children learn to play and enjoy music.  We want West County Strings to be this kind of thriving community where music learning and personal development continually takes place!

Even as we look back on what has already been accomplished this semester, Kirby and I are also looking ahead to all that’s coming up in the second quarter of this fall.  On October 25, we will be hosting our annual Halloween Play-In & Party.  This year’s event will also feature a talent show that anyone and everyone in your family can participate in!  Sign ups are in the studio.  The week of November 21-26 will be off for Thanksgiving Break, but when we return it’s time to get right back to work, as solo recitals are on December 10!  We’re looking forward to picking and polishing repertoire with you and hearing all of the wonderful performances that day.  Recital pieces have to be selected at least one month before the recital (i.e. by November 10) so be thinking of what piece you would like to play!

Often, as the semester goes on students get busier and busier with schoolwork and other activities.  So, here are a handful of concrete ways that you can stay engaged with your studies at West County Strings this fall:

  1. Check your goal chart on the wall in the east studio.  Seeing the goals that we chose at the beginning of the school year can help you refocus and stay on track.  Have you made a lot of progress on your goal?  Great!  Let’s reach that goal and set another.  Have you made less progress on your goal than you would’ve hoped?  Let’s figure out why and make the necessary changes.  And if you haven’t yet brought in a picture to go with your goal chart, please do so.  We’d love to complete our studio goals wall!
  2. Don’t neglect your review chart in your home practice.  “Review builds the new,” and Kirby and I see time after time that the students who know all of their previous Suzuki repertoire the best and keep it memorized have the easiest time learning new pieces with good technique.
  3. Join us at group class!  Group classes are the perfect way to stay on top of all of your Suzuki repertoire, learn new non-Suzuki repertoire, and build your technique with new, challenging, and fun exercises.  Kirby and I both feel like groups have been exceptional thus far this semester.  We thank you for your participation, and looking forward to continuing to see all of your bright and shining faces on Tuesday evenings!
  4. Keep listening to your CDs (or MP3s!).  I always tell my students that listening is “free” progress.  You don’t have to have your instrument out, you don’t have to have your music out, and you don’t even really have to be paying attention.  All you have to do is have the music on, and your brain is learning.  If you can hum a piece, sing a piece, or hear it in your head, it is going to be infinitely easier and quicker for you to learn to play that piece on your instrument.  So, no matter how busy life gets, keep on listening!

As we head into this new quarter, both Kirby and I want to emphasize how thankful we are every day for the opportunity to work with each and every one of you.  We are blessed to get to do something every day that we love doing, and we truly strive to turn our passion for music into excellent teaching and learning opportunities for you every week.  Thank you for being a part of West County Strings!

– Brad