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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Life Unexpected

The past two weeks have been amazing, crazy, ridiculously busy, exhausting, rewarding, trying, and completely unexpected. 

I am someone who was constantly sick before college, but once I graduated, the sickness seemed to mostly go away.  I managed, in the first three days of being in an elementary school for my student teaching experience to get a NASTY case of the flu which completely knocked me out for a day and the recovery process was interesting.  I called my mother, a 2nd grade teacher, and asked her how long I needed to stay home for (they tell parents to keep their kids home until they have been fever free for 24 hours).  She promptly laughed and said "As soon as you are back on your feet!"  Later she tells me that everyone in her building got such a kick out of my question...I wasn't sure if I was getting laughed at or with...

Starting my second week with a sick day seemed ominous, but in reality it wasn't too bad.  Not having a voice for three days however was interesting.  The 5th grade class put on a program last week and it went really well.  I learned so much about getting a program ready and all of the the seemingly endless things you need to do to get ready.  This is all great information that I have now compiled and I will use it for any future programs or recitals or concerts for my students.  I feel that this is probably one of the most important lessons I will learn while student teaching. 

As for practicing and violin music recently, I have found it to be extremely difficult to find any kind of regular practice time: I'm not able to create a practice routine.  Instead I am sneaking in 10 minutes at lunch, 20 minutes during our planning times, 30 minutes while dinner is in the oven...you get the idea.  It has been hard for me to adjust to this scattered practice schedule, but I am finding that with these severely limited practicing times I am forcing myself to be extremely efficient.  I am also really specific with my practicing goals before I start and I am taking notes so that I don't need to unnecessarily repeat what I have already practiced.

I also got some really bad news, I needed some major car repair work done and in order to pay for it I had to use up the money I had saved for violin lessons for myself.  I was extremely disappointed, but I cannot student teach without my car and I must student teach to graduate, so I really didn't have an option.  This has made me all the more determined to really keep up with the practicing and becoming my own teacher.  I hope that by keeping this blog I can keep myself motivated and excited for each new step!

I was lucky to also be able to give one last performance with the string quartet I played in last semester last week and we had a great time.  I was proud of myself for incorporating all of the vibrato work I have been doing, but after reviewing the tape I noticed that there were sections when I reverted to my old vibrato without even realizing it.  I have decided to record all of my practice sessions from now on so that I can review them later on (perhaps listening to them on my 45 minute commute each way to school...).

Saturday, January 8, 2011

The New Year Started of with a Bang!

So I was fully prepared for this student teaching thing!  Teaching in a classroom all day, then giving lessons in the afternoon, making dinner, and then practicing would be no big deal right?  Oh my goodness...I was so not ready for this...

Don't get me wrong, teaching in a classroom, the little bit I've done, is a lot of fun.  I'm learning a lot, and surprisingly some of the things I use all the time in my private lessons I have used in the classroom and they have worked well.  Others, not so much.  I love the kids in the elementary school I'm in.  They are excited to be in music and are very enthusiastic.  My host teacher is amazing.  He is willing to let me try things, anything, and see how it works.  He is also very supportive of me teaching with my violin!  This means that for the kindergarten class we were doing a sing-along with violin instead of piano accompaniment.  The kinders thought that it was really cool that I could play and sing at the same time :)

The downside to all of this fun during the day is that after I have taught in the school, given a lesson or two, and made dinner, I have no more energy left to give.  It isn't that I'm sleeping less, or even getting up much earlier in the morning, it is purely the amount of energy that I spend in the classroom is the amount of energy I used to spend in an entire day.  This means that I am going to have to come up with some alternative ways to practice because I cannot spend an entire semester only practicing for an hour a day.

Next week I will try getting up an hour earlier to practice in the morning as well as practicing after I teach before dinner so that I am more motivated.  I think part of the problem is that the first time I have to relax all day is sitting down and eating dinner and motivating myself to get up and practice is much harder than convincing myself to take a break "for just a little bit longer" which then turns into an hour on the couch reading a book and then I'm falling asleep. 

So for this week, my goals are really to try to practice more and continue working on vibrato.  I would also like to really work on the double stops with scales exercises.  Wish me luck!