Tuesday, August 16, 2011

First day of School!

[My studio!]

Let the games begin! or.. should I say, off to the races! Something like that because, dang, it was a crazy first day of classes! We left the house about 9am with Liza to go buy a bunch of school supplies, and you know how I love shopping for school supplies! By 11am we were at ISM getting organized and doing last minute adjustments to the rooms before classes began. Starting at 12pm, I taught 5 private lessons and two group lessons with involved having 3-6 kids in the room, doing different musical exercises and games.

Here at Umoja, we teach the Suzuki method which requires a great deal of involvement from the parents. I like the philosophy and concepts in the Suzuki method and I'm glad to be learning so much by working here. That being said, the parents are in all of the lessons and it adds a different sort of intensity to teaching, as you're being sort of silently judged through the whole lesson. Eh, I've been judged by whole orchestras, so I can take it. I've also done some pretty silly things in front of whole orchestras and survived it, so I consider myself safe for now. haha

The group lessons were a lot of work, but also a ton of fun. We listened to different pieces by different composers and I have a map that I brought here which I hung so we could visually see where the composers are from. I also have a bunch of composers' pictures hung on the wall, but alas, they are all white dead men.. we need to get some variety up there, so I'm going to encourage the students to do a lot of composition exercises with me. I can just tell it's going to be such an incredible year of growing for, hopefully, everyone here.

The day ended at 6pm and, though I was happy to have the end of the day arrive, I didn't feel particularly exhausted or frustrated at all! It was really a ton of fun and I just want to get better and better. I've been reading a lot of pedagogy materials and exercises every day so I hope I will improve quickly as a teacher, performer, composer, and human being!

After work, Liza, Alison, and I went out for an incredibly delicious vegetarian Indian dinner! The Indian food here is apparently pretty awesome, and it has so far proven its reputation true. We had a lot of laughs at the restaurant and I felt, once again, like I was home.

Today (Tuesday) I teach my first voice students which I'm really excited about. My schedule today consists of 4 private piano lessons, 1 group lesson, and 2 private voice lessons!


  1. Many years ago, when I taught religious ed to students that were only a few years younger than me, I found it better to try and take a more relaxed older sister (hard for me as the youngest and raised alone) approach as opposed to the "conventional-teacher-must-lead-and-control" stuff. Sorta like a car - perhaps - one can guide but never really fully control. Your lesson plans should start to provide a firmer sense from which to lead in the next day or two - it took me about 3 - 4 class sessions to get the knack of that one!!

    Best of luck, and hoping each day gets better and filled with more fun things. I will always cherish the memories of my brightest students, and treasure those that worked as hard as they could. :D

    Lucille Falcone writing as Freedom Admin

  2. Hey Babe,
    I love seeing you in that classroom and love hearing the joy in your words. You are going to be outstanding, I know, because you've always been outstanding in everything that you've done. I can't wait to get over there and see it in person. I miss you, but wouldn't trade this opportunity for anything in the world. Have a great evening and call me when you can. Love you most! moma

  3. Hi sweetie, the photo tells me more about your situation and I can visualized how things are going. I know you are working hard and will be exhausted at the end of the day and week, so take care of yourself. Make sure you get time in the day to relax, even take a nap or the like.
    I'm going to send you a few things by mail, may take a month to arrive, but I want to see if this is even possible.
    All here going well, pets fine too.
    Love ya, Daddio

  4. Incredible! Great to hear a bit about it