Halloween Recap & Parent Night Info

Hello Everyone!

Many thanks to everyone who joined us for our Halloween Group Performance & Party.  What a fun evening it was!  Students, you played beautifully.  Getting so many of you together playing as one is really something special.  Thank you for your hard work and preparation this semester thus far!

Don’t forget, next Tuesday, November 6 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. is our final “group” event of the semester – our Parent Night, which will be held at Local Chef Kitchen, 15247 Manchester Rd.  We look forward to seeing you all there to discuss what “progress”  looks like and concrete ways that we can measure it.

Here are some photos from the Halloween gathering.  Thanks again for making it such a memorable evening!

Halloween ’18 Group Performance & Party

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Halloween is just a week away, and with it comes one of our favorite events of the year – the Halloween Group Performance & Party.  Here’s what you need to know in order to come and enjoy this event with us this year:

Who: All West County Strings students who have been regularly attending group classes (or have been routinely checking their review repertoire in private lessons in the case of Tuesday evening schedule conflicts).  Please invite friends and family to join you.  The more the merrier!

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What: An informal performance highlighting this semester’s work in group classes, followed by Halloween-themed musical games and treats for all to share!

When: Tuesday, October 30 from 6:00-7:30 p.m.

Where: The Parish Hall of Good Shepherd Church, 1166 S Mason Rd.

Why: We’re capping off our group class meetings for this semester and getting ready to move into our focus on solo material for the solo recitals in early December.  The past few months of rehearsals have been an incredibly special time, which we want to celebrate.  Plus, who needs an excuse for music, games, and treats?!

How: Polish your review repertoire (see the list below), find your favorite costume (COSTUMES HIGHLY ENCOURAGED!), and sign up to help set up, to bring your favorite treat or drinks, and/or to help clean up.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Pre-Twinkle
Old Brass Wagon
Paw Paw Patch
Chicken Variations
POP Goes the Weasel
“Body” Lucy Locket
“Body” Hot Cross Buns

Violas
Hunter’s Chorus
Andantino / Rocky Mountain
Perpetual Motion (Wipe-Out)

Ensemble
Oh How Lovely
Above the Plain
Ashoken Farewell
Vive Le Compagnie
Coleraine

Circle of Fifths – G Majors – A Majors
Seitz 2 III
Becker Gavotte
Martini Gavotte
Minuet in G
Witches Dance
Minuet 1
Allegro
Go Tell Aunt Rhody
Song of the Wind
Lightly Row
Twinkles (D and A Strings)

October ’18 Update

Today, it’s finally starting to feel like fall is in the air.  And as the leaves change and the temperatures continue to fall, they’ll bring with them some of our favorite fall semester studio events!


Halloween Performance & Party

The first is our annual Halloween Group Performance & Party, which will be held on Tuesday, October 30 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. in the Parish Hall of Good Shepherd Church, 1166 S Mason Rd.  This informal performance gives students a chance to showcase what they’ve been working hard on in group classes this semester, and will be followed by treats, musical games, and a chance to get to know each other better.  Costumes are highly encouraged!


Parent Night

The next event is our Parent Night for the fall semester, which will be held on Tuesday, November 6 from 6:00-7:30 p.m. at Local Chef Kitchen, 15274 Manchester Rd.  The topic will be, “Help! Is My Child Making Enough Progress?”  Local Chef kitchen is owned and operated Rob and Mitzi Uyemura, whose sons Ethan and Owen are long-time West County Strings students.  No purchases are required, but we certainly encourage you to sample their locally-sourced, healthy, and delicious menu while we’re there!

 

Solo Recitals

And last but certainly not least, our Fall Solo Recitals will be held at 2:00, 3:15, and 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, December 9 at the KREW House at Chesterfield Presbyterian Church, 15037 Clayton Rd.  Solo recitals offer students the valuable opportunity to polish a piece to the very best of their ability, perform from memory in front of a supportive audience, and see how far their work has brought them since they last performed.  Recital pieces must be selected no later than one month before the performance date, so your teacher will be working with you to choose yours soon!


As a final note, we are now already in the midst of the eighth week of the Fall ’18 Semester.  And these first eight weeks have really been exceptional.  I’ve been so excited to see what’s going on in group classes, and for the consistency I’ve seen so many students exhibiting from week to week in their practice and the progress that goes along with it.  Let’s keep it up as the semester progresses!

Bach Partita No. 3: IV. Minuets I & II

If you’re in need of some beauty in your life – and I think if we’re honest we could all use a little more of it – I would recommend taking a listen to Julia Fischer’s Bach for solo violin.  Here I have selected the Minuets from the 3rd Partita in E Major, which are short, simple, and light-hearted.  But her complete catalogue is available on Spotify or even on YouTube.

Every concert violinist worth their salt records the unaccompanied Bach Sonatas & Partitas at least once – often many times – in their career, so there is no lack of listening options out there.  However, Fischer’s displays a depth, character, warmth, and resonance unique to her and I think is noteworthy among the others.  When she plays, it truly feels like Bach is living through his music to this day!

Fall ’18 Group Class Updates & Information

Many thanks to everyone who came out and joined us for our annual Play-In & Ice Cream social to help kick off the school year.  It was a lot of fun to see and hear you all back in one place again after summer.  There’s something really special about a large group of stringed instruments playing together, as you can hear at Suzuki Institutes, Workshops, and group performances – I really recommend experiencing it as often as you can!  To those who weren’t able to make it this time, we missed you and we hope you’ll be able to join us for the next one!

Starting next Tuesday, August 28, fall group classes will begin in earnest at Good Shepherd Church (1166 S Mason).  The schedule is the same as in past years:

  • 5:30-6:00 p.m. – A Majors (Pre-Twinkle – Andantino)
  • 6:10-6:40 p.m. – G Majors (Etude – Bach Bourree)
  • 6:50-7:20 p.m. – Viola Choir (layered violas of all levels)
  • 7:20-8:05 p.m. – Circle of 5ths (Book 4+)
  • 8:05-8:50 p.m. – Performance Ensemble (supplemental/non-Suzuki Book 4+)

HOWEVER, many of you have graduated to new class levels!  If you have moved into the second half of Book 1, we would love to have you join us in G Majors.  If you’ve completed Book 3 and are making your way into Book 4, we would love to have you get your feet wet in Circle of 5ths AND keep coming to G Majors.  If you’re solidly in Book 4, 5, 6 or above, we’d love to have you in Performance Ensemble, as well.  Please refer to the sheet below to find your assigned group(s) for this semester, and let your teacher know if you have any questions.  We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday evenings!

FA19 Group Class Rosters

Chaconne from Partita No. 2 in D min

There are, of course, a million things that one could point out as being done excellently, here.  As a teacher, however, I couldn’t help but immediately notice how well this young man was doing all the basics while performing something complex, and complex this piece is – it’s the longest and most technically challenging from the cornerstone of violin repertoire that is Bach’s 6 Sonatas and Partitas for unaccompanied violin.

“Look how low and relaxed his violin thumb is!” I was saying to myself as I watched him play.

“Look how curved and tall his violin fingers are!”

“Look how close he keeps his fingers to the strings to minimize effort and maximize accuracy!”

These are all things that we talk about in various ways and at different levels in lessons every week!  What a great example this is of someone who has turned all those individual ideas into habits that form the foundation of his masterful playing.  Please take the time to watch and enjoy!

Community Spotlight: The Uyemuras

Each summer, we are excited to send students and their families from our studios off to Suzuki Institutes around the country.

This year, we are thrilled that Ethan and Owen Uyemura, along with their mom Mitzi, will have the opportunity to the American Suzuki Institute in Stevens Point, WI after attending the Institute for their first time last summer.  Mitzi has even kindly offered to share about their experience with us all in the fall!

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If you haven’t ever taken the chance to go to an Institute, you may be wondering exactly what goes on there.  Well, Suzuki Institutes:

  • Are 1-2 week long intensive music camps that often take place on a college campus.
  • Students and their families can stay in the college dorms, though some opt to stay in hotels close by the campus.
  • Students attend daily classes that include: (1) a “master class” private lesson, where they and 2-3 other students their age and level each get individual time with a teacher and get to observe each others’ lessons, too; (2) a group technique class; (3) a group repertoire class; (4) orchestra and/or chamber classes for more advanced students.
  • Each day, usually right after lunch and in the evening, there are student, faculty, and special performer recitals, so you get to hear tons of music and some really exceptional performances.
  • There are also special classes on a wide variety of topics ranging from yoga for string players to care and maintenance of your instrument.
  • Activities like hiking, kayaking, stand volleyball, etc. are organized, but there is also free time if families want to get away and explore local attractions.

If I were to summarize my own feelings, I’d say that there’s no place on earth quite like a Suzuki Institute.  You’re surrounded by people who want to learn morning to night, you’re surrounded by music, you’ll have some really exceptional experiences, and you’ll get away from the distractions and get to spend some truly special time with your family.   I can’t think of a more positive, energizing, fun thing to do every summer.  So, if you didn’t hop on the opportunity to attend and Institute this summer, be sure to keep it in mind for the next!