Friday, May 31, 2013

Class Dismissed

I almost can't believe the words I'm typing now, but Wonder Boy has finished 5th grade and is starting his summer vacation!

I'm not sure where the time has gone, really. It seems to me like it was just yesterday that we were scouting for supplies, picking up schedules and having the Boy practice opening a combination lock in preparation for his first school year with his own locker. And now we're filing away old school papers, picking out summer camps, and locating goggles and sunscreen for days at the pool.

Here's a quick look back at some of my favorite images from the school year:

I say it at almost every milestone, but again as we close out this year, it strikes me just how much Wonder Boy and grown and changed over the course of the school year. He has become so much more independent and confident. He is still a loving and playful kid, but he's matured enough that we talk about more than just video games and play dates.

But now is not the time for deep conversations, it's the start of summer! Now is the time for lazy days, swimming, and fun with friends. I am certain Wonder Boy's time off from school will be filled with all of these things and so much more.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A Joyful Noise

May 16 - 5th Grade Orchestra Spring Concert. As the day got closer, Wonder Boy got more and more excited. He'd been practicing for about 6 weeks for this date. And he couldn't WAIT for us to take our seats and see how far they had all come since the Winter Concert.

He need not have worried about us - we had been anticipating this day almost as much as he had been. The Winter Concert was such a great experience that we were both truly looking forward to this performance. And they did not disappoint. The music was much more complicated than the simple tunes they had prepared before the Winter break. But they brought it all together and put on one heck of a show! See for yourself!

Spring '13 Orchestra Concert

It never fails to move me - watching these young musicians pour themselves into their performance. You could see the pride on their faces when they took their final ovation. They worked hard and it paid off at that moment. I guess that's just another one of the many gifts that comes from learning to play together.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Two Month Review

Wonder Boy has been enjoying his piano lessons for about 2 months now (8 lessons). I am *thrilled* to say that he is still enjoying every minute of them.

Now when he asks us if he can go upstairs to play, we don't know whether or not he means play video games or play piano - he's at least as likely to do one as the other.

The house is simply ALIVE with music these days! Not only is the boy banging away at his electric keyboard, but he's also getting ready for the end of the school year orchestra concert. The music they are playing this spring is much more advanced than the simple tunes they had prepared for the winter concert. The viola lines are quite lovely and I am really looking forward to hearing the whole orchestra come together to play.

But this post is about PIANO. And I have to admit, as much as I love the viola, the piano is my current favorite. Wonder Boy is showing a true aptitude for the instrument. It only takes a couple of times through a particular piece and he'll have it committed to memory. He has several books of music, but most of the time he plays from memory or picks out a tune by ear. We are thankful that both of his piano instructors don't find this a problem. In fact, they have both encouraged him quite a bit and we can see his love for music growing with each passing day!

He's still working on the "Turkish March" or "Rondo Alla Turca" (which is last movement of Mozart's Piano Sonata No. 11). This is the piece he picked out before starting his lessons. And the difference between then and now just amazes me (hold on ... the new video is coming). Listening to his progress just AMAZES me. I hope it's not just the Proud Parent Syndrome. Both of his instructors have told us that he has a natural feel for the piano. And it certainly seems that way to me. But you can see for yourself in the video below. Please note that this is just an iPad video. I'll try to get a clip with the good camera for our next update in a few months.


Turkish March - after 8 lessons

In addition to that piece, Wonder Boy is starting to branch out a bit more. On his last report card he brought home straight As, but to top that effort, he actually had two perfect 100 scores. And that required a special celebration (don't ya think?)! With the way he's been enjoying his piano lessons, it was not all that surprising when he asked for a new book of sheet music as his special reward for that effort. And it's been fun to watch him work through a few of the pieces.

We also had the opportunity to see the Brazos Valley Symphony Orchestra in April. It was a wonderful performance that we all enjoyed! We even had the fortune to be at a performance that featured a 17 year old cellist (a very talented young man). It really seemed to energize Wonder Boy. The following morning he greeted us with the program in hand. He had highlighted several pieces that he wanted loaded onto his iPod. And he even asked for the sheet music for the pieces as well.

In the end, his viola skills were not quite up to replicating what he had heard the night before, but it didn't take long at all before he was picking out the melodies on his piano.

As I have mentioned, I truly love having music such a prominent feature in the house. But even more than that ... I love seeing the love of music growing in the Boy. I have a sneaking suspicion that music will continue to play a prominent role in his life for many years to come. And that truly warms my heart.