Dance 2-27-17

Today the girls had their regular Monday evening dance classes. S12 is in Cecchetti Ballet II, then she and O11 are both in Jazz and Tap. They are starting to get ready for the end-of-year show, which will be in mid June. The studio just announced that this year’s production will be Mary Poppins. The studio does not do a full-on reproduction of the show, but rather centers all of its dances around that theme. In last year’s production of Tangled, for example, one of the numbers was to Halsey’s “Castle”. It will be interesting to see what music and dances they choose for this year.



Tonight we took in a performance of Cats at the Youngstown Playhouse, along with two other homeschooling families. It was excellent. S11 has been YouTubing clips of the Broadway show ever since, especially “Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer”, which she would like to be cast as when she makes her own Broadway debut. O10 was duly impressed by Victoria the white cat. And we all loved the poignant moment when Grizabella was chosen to be reborn to a new Jellicle life.

Fun fact- Rum Tum Tugger was played by the same actor we saw as Donkey in Shrek the previous summer: James Major Burns. He is incredibly talented and will be famous someday, we believe.


Ethan Bortnick

Today we saw Ethan Bortnick, a young piano player, in concert at the Ohio Theatre in Cleveland.


We learned about Ethan from Ms. Nelya, our piano teacher. Ethan is a fascinating kid, not to mention talented, and we thought it would be fun for the girls to see another young musician perform.

Our friend, A9, who is also taking piano, attended too.


Music 3-18-2014

Today we attended our regular music lessons in Canfield.

O8 went to her violin lesson first. We got to see her actual theory exam (she was one just a few of Tina’s students to get an actual 100%!) and also the two judges’ comments on her solo performance. They both complimented her sound quality and intonation. Then she started Gavotte, which is the last piece in Book 1.

Starting Gavotte

Next, we went to Nelya’s for piano. S9 went first, and we got to see her theory exam and solo comments, too. She made a small error on the theory test, but still qualified for a Superior rating. The judges liked her “showmanship and stage presence” in the solo. Big surprise there. 😉  She also earned a Unanimous Superior for her solo!


Nelya asked if Sam wanted to play in the next Butler recital, which is coming up in April. She said she did, and they decided to work on a new piece, “Variations”, for her to play. She is completely finished with the Red (Level 1) series and started in earnest on the Blue (Level 2) books today.

I went next. We finished the E Major scales, arpeggios and dominant sevenths; now we are on to C# minor. Yikes. There are 4 sharps in this key. I’ve never played in C# minor before. It’s going to be challenging.

For today, I prepared Variation 2 the Beethoven piece I have been working on : Six Variations on the Duet “Nel cor più non mi sento” from La Molinara by Paisiello.  (a.k.a. “Variations”.)   I also worked on the Mozart Fantasy in D minor.   For next week: slow metronome work on the Fantasy, work on the C# minor and harmonic scales, and some compressions and rhythm exercises in Variation 1 of the Beethoven piece.

I also ordered O8’s Suzuki Book 2 so we could start listening to the CD, the piano accompaniment book to go with it, and a copy of the Dover version of Mozart’s Sonatas and Fantasies  (as I wanted an urtext version for the D minor piece).

We sound like music geeks.  Cool.

First Piano Recital

Today was S9’s very first piano recital. She has performed solos on violin before, but this was the first time at the grand keyboard. She played at the Butler Institute of American Art’s north annex, which happens to be the very same building where we take art classes. It was wonderful to be able to play in a familiar setting.

The recital was very intimate and short; only 8 kids played and it lasted about a half hour.  DH and O7 joined us in the audience.  We sat right in front of Miss Nelya and her husband.




S9 played a piece called “The Crawling Spider” by Faber. While it is a simple piece, she incorporated all of the dynamic changes and made it a fun performance. Her final chord had a little hint of her typical S-style ending flourish. Congrats, S9!


Music Lessons 10-8-2013

This morning we had our regular music lessons in Canfield.

O7 went first with violin at Miss Tina’s. She had a great lesson. First, Tina showed her the C scale. They played it together, then Tina assigned us that as a practice project. Next, she had O7 play her Suzuki pieces. She got through the part of Minuet 3 that she was supposed to practice, then learned a new part. She is really progressing and seems to recognize that she has come a long way.

At Neyla’s, S9 went first and worked through all of her homework. She also had a very good lesson, and Nelya worked with her on her performance piece. They also did 5-finger scales, some chords, and got some theory to do as an assignment.

Next was my turn. I did my A minor scales, which are good. For next week, Nelya assigned the arpeggios and cadences for me to work on. Next, I played Gavotte, but it fell apart after only a few measures. I felt very distracted and my fingers kept tripping over themselves. We switched to the Bach Prelude, which is okay but needs smoothed out and fingerings. Then we did Fuer Elise, which I have not played for Nelya in a while. It is markedly better, though I still have some rough spots that need worked through. Finally, the Sonatina. I have a lot to practice for next week, but am enjoying the challenge.

Strings Concert

Tonight, O7 performed with Tina’s strings camp students in a lovely concert. She joined the other elementary students in playing the Suzuki pieces up through and including Allegro. Papa and Grandma V came to watch, as did DH and S9, Uncle R, and Aunt S. She was very excited to have everyone come to see her perform- right up until she had to sit with the other kids to wait for their turn to go up. Then she got very nervous and said she didn’t think she wanted to do it. I told her she should do it, since she told Miss Tina that she would and that it was important to keep your word. She was fine and I saw her smiling at Papa a few times from the stage area while she played.

In addition to O7’s portion, we also enjoyed arrangements of the William Tell and 1812 Overtures, plus the Bach Double played by Tina and three other college-aged students. There was a quartet, and even a saxophone solo. Tina’s husband accompanied on piano and the entire concert was a very enjoyable affair.

Afterwards, we went out to eat and then got froyo at Menchie’s to celebrate.