Thanks to all of our BCD Musicians for an excellent Fall term. Special thanks to Vocal Ensemble and our Thanksgiving Soup instrumentalists. Happy Thanksgiving, and looking forward to Arts Night (12/1/16) and Winter Music Concert (12/9/16)!
If anyone missed Soup today, or wants to revisit the memory, here is the text from our Gratitude Presentation. As read by our fabulous 9th grade narrators:
We are blessed with many gifts, and we take this time to acknowledge and appreciate them all. As a community, we value and cherish each other. We also know that not all things in this world are fair, and there is yet much work to be done to create a better place. Perhaps, at some future point, we will have that better world. Perhaps we will achieve a peaceful society. “When true simplicity is gained, we won’t be ashamed to bow or to bend,” the Shaker hymn suggests. We asked several BCD students to share which inhibitions they might cast off in order to move closer to that ideal world.
When true simplicity is gained, we won’t be ashamed to:
“Speak up for ourself and what we believe in.”
“Do the right thing, even if everyone does something else.”
“Support a friend that needs help.”
“Believe in yourself.”
“To asks questions and take time to be unsure.”
“Play with a new friend.”
“Believe in magic.”
“Help to others that are in need.”
“We won’t be ashamed to show others we care.”
“To give to the young and old alike.”
“Work together to solve problems without fighting.”
“Enjoy God’s creations.”
“To sing together in harmony.”
“Communicate using our words instead of violence.”
“To share jokes and laugh together out loud.”
“To have peaceful and democratic resolutions of world conflicts.”
“To act differently from the norm.”
“Express our true and authentic self.”
Last Friday, our Fourth Grade students visited Omi International Arts Center in Ghent, NY, where they had an opportunity to get up-close and personal with internationally renown sculptural works. In conjunction with their study of architecture, the class focused on the sculptures of Architecture Omi, a special program that facilitates projects exploring the intersection of architecture, art and landscape – a sixty-acre ‘architect’s playground’. Highlights of the experience included meeting Chilean artist Nicolas Arancea Muller who shared insight to his building process and investigating ReActor, a 44-foot by 8-foot structure that rotates 360-degrees atop a 15-foot concrete column. After our trek in The Fields, we enjoyed a much-deserved picnic lunch on the patio. The students are excited to get back to work on their own architectural models in the BCD studio!
Music is a rewarding and lifelong journey that can begin at any time and place. Oftentimes the joys of music-making can be lost (for some!) by the dread of regular practicing.
I know our returning musicians are probably thinking about their private lessons for the year and (potentially) cramming in some last hours of practice time before Wednesday, September 14!
Please see below for a few simple practice tips for aspiring musicians of any age:
Drink water and take care of bodily health. It’s good to stay active, but also make sure you feel relaxed and centered before beginning practice time. This is important to make sure no injuries occur, as well as to ensure a productive session!
Warm up before practicing scales or repertoire. This could mean playing/singing long tones, taking deep breaths, or another warm-up technique given by your private instructor.
Slow down! It is common for musicians to practice tricky sections of music at an inappropriately fast tempo. When learning or practicing a new/challenging section, make sure to take the tempo down to a crawl. Then work your way up to the faster tempo.
Quality over Quantity. There are a lot of varying opinions about practice time. For an adult, 1 hour of great practicing is worth 4 hours of mindless practicing. Or for a younger student, 15-30 minutes of daily practicing could do the trick. If you have more questions about developmental appropriateness and practice time, feel free to reach out.
Be mindful of repetition. From an outside perspective, great practicing probably sounds like lots of repetition of various musical snippets of a piece. What the musician’s brain does, however, is practice getting one thing right (i.e. hand position or a tricky accidental note) and building on another element, in order to bring the piece closer to concert-ready.
JOY. What a great privilege and opportunity to have the chance to play beautiful music! Even when playing a scale, we can bring expression and joy to that by thinking about how much we love what we do.
Take time off. One mantra could be: Practice 6 days straight, and then give yourself a break on 1. Private instructors can give more specific advice on how to best take breaks and avoid burnout.
Thanks for reading, and happy practicing to our BCD performers!
Here’s a fun photo of me in soundcheck, preparing for a 2014 performance in Beijing, China.