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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

2nd Year strings at Laredo

You are a small but mighty group!  You are all hard workers, and I'm impressed with your diligence.  I think we will have fun working on music this year!  That said, if you run into string players who have moved into town, and already have been playing a year, invite them to join us!  Does anyone know where Abigail is , from last year.  Email me, if you do!  Your bowing and rhythm is coming nicely on Frere Jacques.  Keep polishing that up.  Practice page 32, and 33 in you book.  No the difference between f# and f natural on your D string...and C# and C natural on your A string.  Page 32 is dealing mostly with the D string, and page 3 throws you onto the A string notes. 

Think about the different length of a bow stroke you need for several 8th notes, as opposed to the bow strokes you need for a quarter note.  Small flexible, shorter bow strokes for 8th notes, more bow length for the quarters, and s-l-o-w. B-o-w- for half-notes.   We still be doing some rhythm/bow exercise next week, to help us with this.  And, you will be getting more sheet music, so keep those folders and notebooks at the ready, so you don't have to have crumpled music avalanching off your stand, and me frowning at you.  Haha.  Ok.  Really do being notebook or folder, AND a pencil to class.  No pens.  Make sure your name is on everything.  Thanks.  Have fun practicing.  I'll see you all Monday!

Third Year Strings

Hey.  Great work on Dance Scenario today! Be sure to be totally familiar with all the scales on page 44, of your second year book.  These are important scales.  Know where, and when a finger has to be low or high.  Know the differences between your sharps, and your naturals.  As a preview, take a peak at the F Major scale on page 45, top one.  Figure out how to deal with that Bb. We talked a little about that today.  Work your way through the Dance as far as you can.  Pay special attention to rhythm and bow patterns, once you are getting more sure of the notes.  You did great work today!  So proud of you all.  

Please make sure you are carrying all your sheet music in a folder or notebook, and carrying a pencil in that folder or notebook.  This is a great habit to get into, and will save us a lot of time, for you to be able to make notes, to be a better team player in our orchestra.  More sheet music coming.  We will also be doing some work in your book next week as well.  F major will be coming into play.  So, don't forget to practice!

All beginning students

You're off to a great start!  It's so good that we finally have all our beginners taped, or at least most of them.  That is always a relief.  Yay! Weather you attend the beginning class at Fox Hollow, or the beginning class at Laredo, please practice page 4 and 5 this weekend. Be able to tell the difference between a D, and an A on your staff.  Play through the pages, saying the notes, and the rests.  Practice holding instrument at concert rest.  Then going to playing position, then concert rest, get the idea.  Try for a smooth, graceful movement from concert rest, to ready to pizzicato with your right hand in an 'L ' shape, anchored, against fingerboard, as I've showed you, and ready to pluck with your right hand. 

 You can tuck your sponge pads that I gave you just under the neck of your instrument, as long as the top of the case closes easily.  If that is a problem, keep the pad in the outside zipper compartment, or your backpack.  Please make sure you are using the blue sponges, or provided shoulder rest, or even a wash cloth folded over and rubber banded underneath the instrument, on the chin rest side, as I showed you.  This will give you more stability.  Beware, that  some people will find even a sponge, and especially some of the clip on shoulder rests, a little tall for comfort.  Every one is different.  I will keep working with each of you viola and violin players, until we have the good fit for shoulder support for you.  Start with the blue sponges first, or whatever else I've checked you for you.  Make sure violins and viola players, your instrument is covering part of your left shoulder.  Cello players, pull your end pins out enough that the lowest peg is behind left ear.  For now, all players, hold onto the upper bout with the left hand.  We will be learning finger positions soon enough.  See you next week!  Now go make some music!

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Third Year Class

Thanks for your patience, as I sort out who you are, where your going, and what kind of wonderful music we will make this year!  Many of you are familiar faces, and several of you are new to me, and I'm so glad to have each one of you in my class.  We are going to work some out of the Second year book on Monday. So, if you already have the book, bring it.  If you don't have it, I will have more on hand, when you get to class.   Know all those scales.  I need everyone to be able to play them for me on Monday.  We will do more sight reading.  We will change people around. I think we have a great group.  Looking forward to moving ahead with more music on Monday.  Also, if you have moved to a bigger instruments, I will give you some tape to help you on Monday.  See you then! 

Fox Hollow Beginners

Great start today!  It is always a little slow getting started, but we did great.  Go ahead, and keep studying page 2 of your book.  Learn your instrument's parts.  Practice getting your instrument in place.  Practice the pizzicato position I showed you .  

Violas and Cellos.  Lowest to Highest strings are Cats Go Dancing Around! C, G, D, A.  Remember, those are your strings named from lowest to highest; the big thick string, being the bottom, and the skinnier one at the top, being the highest. 

Violins: From lowest to highest , your string names are G, D, A, and E.  Giant Dogs Always Eat! 

On Monday we will be taping your finger positions, and giving you some other activities to do.  Yay. Have a great weekend!  

All Laredo Students, 1st & 2nd year

I could not be more grateful for your help and support with all the confusion that got thrown at all of us.  No one's fault, but certainly a chaotic series of events.  Assume we will be back at Laredo Middle School this Monday. I will notify you, should that not be the case, otherwise, plan on Laredo.  

Beginners: practice putting instrument up and down into playing position.  Cellos, practice getting that endpin out to the right length that we talked about in class.  Look at the pix in your book for more direction.  I will have people helping tape instruments on Monday, and have other activities ready for your to do.  Know the parts of your instrument.  This is helpful as we talk about what to do with our instruments, and how to hold them.  

2nd years: be ready to play Frere Jacques for me on Monday.  Slow or fast, but work on getting correct notes and rhythm values.  Just get in the habit of playing music again, and spending time with your instruments.  

Once again, thanks so much for all your understanding, and mad dash driving to the next place, then mad dash hiking into the school. You are awesome. Thanks to the people who passed on information, and held doors, and remained calm and helpful. See you Monday!  If you have questions or concerns, please email me at 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Wednesday Schedule

Fox Hollow beginners 3:30 - 4:20.  This class includes Fox Hollow Students, plus students from neighboring schools, whom this time works well for. This is a beginning class.

Third year strings: Meet at Fox Hollow. Should be proficient at reading through all of book I, and into a good part of Book 2 of Essential Elements.  If you don't have book 2, do not go buy it. I'm not sure how long we will use it. 

Laredo Class: Beginners start at 6:00-6:50

2nd year classes begin at 6:55- 7:45 Bring your first year books

Enroll at, if you have not already done so.