Recently Ashlynn participated in a piano contest in Idaho Falls. The top two performers from each division came back the next day to perform their numbers in front of lots of people and some very prestigious judges! Here she is playing The Magic Game by Bela Bartok.
Although Ashlynn wasn't awarded the first place prize this time, she did take second place and was given a gift certificate to the local music store, which she promptly used to purchase a light blue ukulele.
Here is a video of Nathan playing Agent 402 by Louise Garrow at the piano recital this weekend.
Both of these guys work really hard and are faithful with their practicing. It has been amazing to see how far they have come already, and we are very proud of them both.
Their teacher uses the so-called "Suzuki Method," which is an interesting approach to teaching pioneered by a Japanese man named Shin'ichi Suzuki, who lived from 1898-1998. He theorized that teaching music was kind of like teaching language, and that language is best learned by first learning to speak, then read, then write. He saw that most music teachers teach "speaking" music (playing the instrument) simultaneously with "reading" music (recognizing the notes, scales, key signatures, etc) and wondered if focusing on simple imitation at first (just like a little child learns to speak) would yield better results. It turns out that he was right, and he produced many "prodigy" musicians using this method (I believe he was a violin teacher, mainly).
Of course, many students taught in this way will never learn to read music, just as many people who can speak a language never learn to read it, and fewer still ever learn to write well in a language, since each of these things is a different learned skill. The Suzuki method doesn't ignore reading music as an important skill, it just emphasizes "speaking" it first.
I don't know whether it's that much more effective than other methods or not, but our kids' teacher asked us to read Suzuki's book called Nurtured by Love when our kids started lessons, and I thought it was interesting food for thought. Check it out sometime if you're interested.