Monday, July 28, 2008


I was plagued by headaches all weekend and woke up with a bad one but it is starting to fade. I was going to work on something else this a.m. but it's on the study computer and that computer has suddenly gone all funky on me. So I'm here feeling like I ought to be doing something useful but not quite up for it physically and frustrated in my attempts to do what I wanted anyway.


I've been thinking about music, the last category St. John Bosco really focused on giving his boys in their education. We like music a lot around here. We listen to all types from classical to hard rock to Celtic to Klezmer to jazz to sacred. We are truly eclectic in our tastes. Through the years we've done lots of music lessons, mostly piano, with varying levels of un-success. However, as the kids get older they tend to want to make music more a part of their lives without any help or direction from me.

H - loves singing in the church choir. She's sung in choirs for years. She took a year of voice lessons and talks about taking voice again at the community college. She hated piano lessons as a little girl but now she's older she sits down at the piano and plunks out tunes. She wants to get really good at sight reading; she's getting there.

W - has a lot of native talent. Very creative and takes to playing whatever instrument he picks up with ease. However, he had real trouble learning to read music and I think has a mental block about it. Last summer he picked up a guitar and has progressed phenomenally. He is obssessed with it. He is now taking guitar lessons with the School of Rock and is in one of their bands. He's getting ready for their Beatles White Album concert where he plays lead guitar on several songs. He wants to stay with the SoR depsite not caring much for his fellow students who are foul-mouthed bratty public schooled kids. But they are doing a Led Zeppelin concert in the winter. He loves Led Zeppelin. He would also like to work on piano again but I think this school year is too heavy academically to take on another instrument. He has taught himself music theory, is a walking encyclopedia about all things musical, writes beautiful melodies and started his own band called the Hypotheticals.

J - Josh has technical abilities. He learned to read music right off the bat and he's the one that pays attention to HOW you are supposed to play the piano. He is not as enthralled with music as his siblings, but he likes it very much. He'd like to continue with piano or perhaps try the flute. I'm not sure what we'll do this coming year.

S - has terrific native talent. He blows me away. He loves classical music and can pick out Mozart melodies and then figure out both hands all on his own. He was doing this at age 7. He write lovely melodies too and wants to be a composer. We had a falling out with the piano teacher who was so good for S and we've been in a slump since. I want S to go to the Levine school of music. I think he'll thrive there. S also wants to join the children's choir at church.

B - I think B is a singer. She makes up songs and sings all the time. She also wants to take either piano or violin lessons this coming year. She's too young for the children's choir but next year she could join.

In addition to formal music lessons, we'll just be doing what we always do, listen a lot, occasionally learn something specific about a particular composer, go off onto rabbit trails when they occur. I want to focus on American folk music and composers this year. I got an absolutely stunning cd featuring Stephen Foster songs. I think we'll also focus on musicals, Berstein and Copeland. As well as the New Word Symphony by Dvorak.

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