Monday, November 24, 2008

Maestros Nathan and Ashlynn

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.


Vernile said...

Thank goodness for blogs! Now we know what's happening in our grandchildren't lives.

oldcowboy said...

I have read various articles that say that kids involved in music do better in school than the average student. Keep up the great work. Your kids are doing well.

Uncle Brent

Claudine said...

Gee, Ashlynn and Nathan are both quite accomplished piano players. It takes alot of work, both for the parents (who have to make sure they practice) and for the students. I'm grateful for parents who made me practice so that I can be the piano player for primary now. I love it, it is the best job in the church! Keep up the good work. Aunt Claudine

Daze of our lives said...

suzuki was how i learned to play the piano. i think it is a great method. i still remember listening to the songs over and over and over. .
now that we are in utah i really want to come visit you guys some time soon!!

Anonymous said...

Clay and Lori,
We are the couple you met in Orlando! Nathaniel and Andrea from Indiana :) We enjoyed meeting you both at Sleuth!

Happy Holidays!

The Draine's