Originally Posted by Stacymom
Insahmniak, how was institute for you? I kept meaning to pm you so that we could actually meet irl, but never got to it. Who did you get to work with? Was is fun for your dd? How did "Mignon" turn out?
Thanks for asking, Stacymom. I'm super happy to give a review. I should start with
: That's it, in a nutshell. I'm very happy with our experience this year. I was particularly surprised at how gratifying it was to see familiar faces. That made this large-scale institute feel rather homey, really. We got to catch up with folks we remembered from last year as well as meet new friends. I did miss having Sven Sjorgen, I must admit. We had him last year for technique and it was awesome.
Teachers we worked with this year were Terry Durbin (again), Pat D'Ercole and Helen Higa. Durbin was amazing as expected. D'Ercole also had a great way with the kids. Higa had a lot to impart, but for a child who just turned six I'm guessing it was a bit esoteric. "Practice doing nothing" turned out to be a theme in the class, for example. For the slightly older student I can see how a class with Higa could be transformative.
This time around my partner came along nearly every day, so I was able to attend some of the parent-centered classes, and observe a few others. This was tremendously helpful.
Best part for me - hands down - attending the parent chats with Ed Sprunger. I gained so much. I was also able to observe a couple of his classes.
This year one of the things that stood out was the emphasis on freedom of movement and relaxation while playing, at least in the classes I observed. As a mom concerned about establishing healthy playing habits I appreciated this.
Loved the Aaron Ashton concert - so much fun! He plays with such joy that it feels a privilege to watch. And the violinist who opened with Kreisler's Preludium - he was also amazing. I wish I could remember his name....
Mignon went well enough and I'm glad we'll be moving on. Taking it to institute certainly emphasized some of her left-hand issues like being tight with her thumb, which I found out is double-jointed. We now have lots of exercise ideas to try. One of DD's classmates had a beautiful vibrato, and I saw the awe in my daughter's eyes and watched her try to do it herself. I think she'd really like to have a nice vibrato. Terry Durbin was going through some bow distribution exercises and asked things like, "How do you play mad?" "How do you play sad?" When he asked the class "How do you play beautiful?" DD shouted out "With vibrato!" I was happy to hear her enthusiasm. She also can't wait to play Minuet in G. When she couldn't join in with the others in her class on this piece she got pretty teary. She knows how it sounds and plays it by ear at home, but I guess she felt shy about joining in because she hasn't formally learned it. So like you - we're coming home with a great deal of motivation.
Overall it was really rewarding to note the growth in my daughter. A year ago she had just turned five and was more easily overwhelmed. This year she was able to be quite a bit more engaged. She's grown up a lot in the last year. Sniff Sniff.
I kept thinking maybe I'd run into you at some point, Stacymom. It's such a busy week and with our kids at different levels it's easy to see how we'd miss each other. Maybe next year we'll figure out a way to connect.
Ack - long post. So much to process after institute! In a nutshell ...