Monday, January 16, 2012

Suzuki Violins and Cellos in an Outreach Concert

On Sunday we went to Suffolk, VA for a pair of outreach concerts with Mrs. Morton's studio. The kids played beautifully in a country church and then in a retirement home. Thank you to the church ladies who made us lunch, and to Mrs. Morton for putting together such a lovely program!

Sadie got to play along for two songs. The first was Minuet 2 from Suzuki Book 1:

Then Lully Gavotte from Suzuki Book 2:

Benny and his buddy Stephen share a stand in their youth orchestra, and also share a cello teacher. Here are the "Bad Boys of Cello" with their teacher, performing Minuet in G by Beethoven as a trio:

"The Prayer" in ensemble, a song made popular by Celine Dion:

And finally, "Hot Canary," a crazy-to-play but super fun violin lark:

A great way for the kids and me to spend a Sunday. :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Homeschool Choir is Fun!

For the last two semesters at Homeschool Out of the Box, our secular co-op here in Norfolk, I have been teaching a choir class for all ages. The first semester we learned some basics -- interval training, breathing, projecting, etc. and some simple songs. The second semester we took on Celtic music -- ballads and jigs and reels and silly songs and sad songs, all from the British Isles. This coming semester, we will be diving into the music of Appalachia -- murder ballads, nonsense songs, Stephen Foster standards, and bluegrass favorites.

We work on memorizing lyrics, ear training with notes and dynamics, and have lots of fun in class. Here are a couple of examples of our songs from last semester. We love to incorporate instruments that the kids play -- you can see a cello and tin whistle participating in this song, as well as my guitar:

Last semester we memorized several poems from W. B. Yeats, and here's one of them, one of our more serious selections:

This spring, we're singing American tunes like "Beautiful Dreamer," "Skip to My Lou," "When Johnny Comes Marching Home," "Cotton Eyed Joe," and "Shady Grove." Our songbook can be purchased as a coil-bound notebook from for $10 or you can download and print your own for free from our Yahoo Group files section. If you order the official songbook, the cost of the class is $60 for all 15 weeks. Without the songbook, the cost is $80 for the semester. We meet for an hour every Tuesday morning near the Chrysler Museum in downtown Norfolk. Won't you join the fun?