Suzuki Camp: Day 4

Today was our fourth day at Suzuki Violin Camp. DH made an unplanned (but most welcome!) surprise visit last night. He got in after the kids had fallen asleep, but they were thrilled to see him when they woke up this morning. He attended classes with us today and got to see what they have been doing all week. It was so nice to have him with us, if only for a short time.

This morning we had breakfast, per usual, at 7AM in the dining hall. The kids are pretty used to the dining routine and are able to get their own food, drinks and silverware. They have started sitting at a table with their friends while we adults sit together at another table. It’s nice to see them maturing and spreading their wings a bit, even if I have to enforce the “no ice cream for breakfast!!” rule periodically.

Our first class was Orchestra 01 with Marlene Moses. Today the kids looked for patterns in written music: they looked for notations in the Suzuki book, and also looked at unfamiliar music for rhythm and note patterns. They got a series of cards with different rhythmic values and assigned “words” to help express verbally how the notes would be played rhythmically. For example, a triplet would be “pine-ap-ple”. An eighth followed by two sixteenths would be “Goose- ber-ry.” She set the cards up on the blackboard and the kids bowed those rhythms on an open string. Finally, they sight-read a simple piece and then played it as a round.

Orchestra with Mrs. Moses

After Orchestra, we went to Theatre class. They absolutely adore this extra class. First, the kids got into groups and each group had to pantomime a scene: one was a car wash, one was a family on a roller coaster, etc. The other kids had to guess what they were doing. Then they did some more Mad Libs- this time, they did Little Red Riding Hoods (there were five, who went to visit their Uncles. In Hawaii.)

We had a quick break after Theatre and stopped back at the dorm to rest a bit. DH had some work to do, so he opted to stay behind during third session, which was their Masterclass.

In Masterclass with Marion Goss, O6 went second and worked on “playing in the yard” as well as staying in the “second lane”. Marian wants her to keep her bow arm straight, her bow hold good, and the bow itself in the center of the sweet spot. O6’s bow tends to wander sometimes, especially when she is looking at her fingers. Playing in the yard means using the full bow, not just the small center portion of it.

Playing in the Yard with Mrs. Goss

S8 worked on bringing her violin up to a good “concerto position” and then worked on keeping her elbow down slightly when playing on the E string, so that when she rolled over to A string she wasn’t so high up that she also touched the D. She was able to get through Allegro so much more easily (and cleanly) by keeping her elbow down somewhat.

Concerto Posture with Mrs. Goss

After lunch, we went to the faculty recital and saw Miss Tina perform with some of the other teachers. It was so much fun to watch them play. They have all known each other for a long time and obviously have a ball playing together. It is definitely infectious. Here we are posing with Miss Tina:

With Miss Tina

Next we went to the girls’ Technique class. I still have not observed S8’s class, but O6’s group had even more wiggles than usual. I think a lot of the kids are simply wiped out from so many long (but fun) days in a row. Combined with the two-o’clock hour, everyone seemed sleepy and dragging. They were so tired that Mr. Lavine had them take a twenty-second nap.

Camp has tired us out!

Finally, we went to Repetoire, where Mr. Jim held the entire class without uttering a single word. This really forced the kids (and the accompanyist, Miss Barbara) to pay attention. He really was an awesome teacher. Here, he and the kids are playing Lightly Row while lying on the floor.

Playing on our backs in Mr. Jim's class

After Repetoire, we went back to the room to get cleaned up, then went to dinner. Then we took a little walk into town and went for ice cream at Graeter’s. Apparently, this is a Suzuki camp tradition. We had a nice treat and then a leisurely walk back to the dorm before DH had to take off for home. Next year, if (when) we come back, I definitely hope DH is able to come for a few more days, if not the whole week. It was wonderful being all together here as a family.