Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Little Music Adventure

Up the road, there is this (I think) semi-famous school for musicians/conductors. [I know the school is up there. I think it is semi-famous]. Every summer, musicians come from all over to play and study here, and, in particular, to learn to be conductors.

[bust of Pierre Monteux, the school's founder. The guy who was running the program held this up, talked about Monteux and had everyone practice their French accents by saying his name.]

A few times a week, they offer concerts, for the public. In all my nearly 44 summers here, I don't think I have actually ever gone to a concert there. [insert embarrassed emoticon here]

Once a summer, they also offer a special children's concert, in the morning. I have also never been to one of the children's concerts; of late, this has been due to the fact that they conflict with library hours. During the last few summers, Grandma (my mom, Anne, that is) has been kind enough to take Alden (and various other children, too, no doubt). This year, though, the concert happened during the time that Anne was away.

In part because I just wanted to get to go, and in part because Alden started playing the violin this year (as part of his school's regular music program, all kids play violin in 3rd grade), and will play viola next year (and will play in the 4th grade orchestra), I wanted to take him. I just want him to have as many different opportunities to see/listen to music as possible. So, I arranged to have someone do my morning library hours for me, and off Alden and I went, to the concert.

The focus was on the question" what is a conductor?" and there was a combination of lots of little pieces of music, quick intros to some of the key instruments, and lots of audience participation around the question "what does a conductor do?" The guy who led the whole thing was really good, and over the course of the hour or so that the performance went on, they talked about the conductor's job of helping the musicians play loud/soft, fast/slow, with a certain beat, all together, with a certain mood, etc etc.
Alden and I both enjoyed it a lot. It was fun to be in this funny little woodsy setting, pretty much in the middle of nowhere, hearing this real orchestra playing real music, and learning about conductors.


qcanoe said...

Wow, that is great.

You must have a pretty good school system if they have all the kids playing violin in 3rd grade. Nice.

Not sure if you remember that Tristan has been playing fiddle for several years now. Not the most serious student, but he has stuck with it. This year he started Trumpet with the public school program (5th grade). The highlight of his year musically was that he went to a week of band day camp earlier in the summer and learned what practicing and playing intensively was really like. (5 hours a day, not 15 minutes every three days.) And he liked it! Tribute to the staff as well as his attention span.

Clarissa said...

Yeah, music is big in our school district. I did not really realize how strong it was until the end of spring, after Alden had been doing violin since January, and I started learning a little more.

His violin teacher was just great.

In 5th grade, all kids do a brass instrument. So, that sounds similar to Tristan's deal. Not sure WHAT brass instrument, though.

Do you guys know about "fiddle camp"? that's not what Tristan did, right?

I keep hearing about fiddle camp, these days...

Kira is also doing band camp later this summer. She is playing clarinet. Milo came up to me the other evening, after playing with Kira, and said "Mom, I want a clarinet."

I told him to talk to his Grandma...