Cast your vote! Bring Us Peace…

December 31, 2008

We submitted an entry in the well-publicized recording contest sponsored by world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma. Participants from around the world were invited to submit an original recording of variations to the traditional Christmas hymn, “Dona Nobis Pacem” (Bring Us Peace). We composed and performed live our own variations of this piece, and our recording is posted here (see user name “Lisa C.”).

Now, the world gets to vote! And you can too. Spread the word, tell your friends, go to the site and listen to our variations! Vote for your favorite! Note that at this link there is a handy “Vote” button right next to the name of each entrant, making it easy to cast your vote. The winner gets a chance to record with Yo-Yo Ma himself! Close to 400 entries were submitted, but to make it easy, you only have to listen to ours (ours is in the 2nd to last row, middle column of this page)….

The deadline for casting all votes is JANUARY 10, 2009, at 9:00AM PST!

Regardless of how you decide to vote, please tell us what you think of our recording.

Happy New Year! May 2009 bring all of us peace…


Having Anything You Want versus Having Everything You Want

December 5, 2008

I was inspired by a recent blog entry on “getting rich slowly”, which said, “You can have anything you want – but you can’t have everything you want.” At this holiday season, and especially at this moment in history, the truth in these words resonate for me. It’s one of the lessons I believe is essential to teach our children, and is inherent in learning to live happily.

One of the common questions I am asked by parents both in my program and considering enrollment in this program is how to “balance” sports, music, academics, community service, and other extracurricular activities for their children over time. The answer I typically give is that the experience of committing to any activity in a serious way, early in life, lays the foundation for the child to eventually make that commitment to anything they choose. However, the truth is that you can do anything, but not everything. Read the rest of this entry »


Coachability

September 13, 2008

I was inspired by a series of questions from parents in my school to articulate the true goal of my teaching and the essence of the original mission for founding my school. “Cultivating lifelong learning and music appreciation in children” was a long tagline to express my feeling that with each student who walks through the doors of my school, no matter how long their tenure with me, my goal is that they leave as a coachable person.

What does it mean to be coachable?

I will explore the answers to this question throughout the course of the next year. I will ask my students to articulate what it means to learn, what it has meant to them so far. I will ask parents to ask this question of themselves. I will ask it of myself also. And I will attempt to share our stories with our concert audiences.

My instinct is that being coachable has something to do with being adaptable, and that once you are truly coachable, it applies not just to one discipline, but across all aspects of your approach to life. In order to be a coachable person, you must have resilience. You must seek out mentors and then eagerly ask them, “What did you hear? What do you see? How can you help me hear more, see more?” You must also stand tall in your own space and know you are there. You must listen, and then you must also be heard. You must be mutable, but remain intact at your core. I think that being coachable is a necessary step toward acquiring wisdom. When you are coachable, the doors to learning anything are unlocked. All you have to do is choose which one you’d like to open, and then walk through it.

I’m in the midst of planning some specific tools for myself, my students, and their parents to use in my school this year to explore what it means to be coachable. Stay tuned for more details on what these specific tools are…


OPEN HOUSE for New Enrollment

September 7, 2008

Come visit us and learn more about enrollment opportunities for the coming year!

When: Saturday, October 18, 2008, at 10:00AM

Where: 2483 Old Middlefield Way, Suite 150, Mountain View, CA

Schedule:

10:15AM – 11:30AM   Observe repertoire class in session
11:30AM – 11:45AM   Q&A with students and parents from The Music Within Us program
11:45AM – 12:00PM    Tour the studio
12:00PM – 1:00PM    Repertoire class continues (optional for observers)

Parents AND children are encouraged to attend the Open House.

Please RSVP with your name, your child’s name and birthdate, if you plan to attend. Thank you!

An informational seminar for parents interested in enrollment opportunities for the coming year will take place on MONDAY, October 27, 2008, at 7:00PM – 8:00PM. This seminar is designed for parents ONLY. You will hear more about the teaching philosophy and the commitment level expected in this program, as well as learn details about the application and enrollment process. Attendance at the Open House is highly recommended before attending the seminar. If you are unable to attend the Open House but would like to explore enrollment, please call (650) 325-2194.


Prague concert tour with Magical Strings

June 25, 2008

I just returned from an 8-day concert tour of Prague, Czech Republic, with the Magical Strings of Youth. 45 violinists from Chicago, along with 4 students from The Music Within Us program, presented 8 concerts in 8 days throughout the city.

Venues included Smetana Hall in the Municipal House; the Beethoven Festival in Teplice; St. Nicholas Church in Old Town Square; Lobkowicz Palace in Prague Castle; the Rudolfinum; the Czech Music Museum; and Nelahozeves Castle. Audiences included renowned violinist Josef Suk (a descendant of the composer Antonin Dvorak), and Prince William Lobkowicz. Joining the group in performances were the Northern Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, the Czech National Symphony Orchestra, and internationally acclaimed violin soloist Vadim Gluzman.

For more photos, see our photo collection.


Putting the Meaning Back

February 23, 2008

In our performance- and results-oriented culture, how do we put the meaning back into our daily lives? How do we attempt to create an environment for our children that values hard work, loyalty to people, and pride in the integrity of earnestly working toward a larger goal (versus achievement of the goal at all costs)? Read the rest of this entry »


ANNOUNCING: Performance at Stanford Shopping Center, Saturday, November 10, 2007

October 15, 2007

The Music Within Us students will be the featured performers for the annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Stanford Shopping Center! Nineteen students, ages 3 through 8, will perform a program of both classical and holiday music selections.

Event: Performance at the Stanford Shopping Center Tree Lighting Ceremony

Date: Saturday, November 10, 2007

Time: 3:00PM

Location: Central Pavilion (outside La Baguette and Tiffany & Co.)

Following the concert, please join a procession for children and families to view the lighting of the Christmas Tree, beginning at Santa’s Village in the Central Pavilion at 5:00PM. The ceremony will conclude with special family-friendly holiday activities including hot chocolate and goodies.


Sleep and Learning Ability

October 8, 2007

Here are two interesting links to an article in New York magazine by Po Bronson and Ashley Merrymon.

How to Get Kids to Sleep More

Full article: “Can a Lack of Sleep Set Back Your Child’s Cognitive Abilities?

Some excerpts:

“Dr. Matthew Walker of UC Berkeley explains that during sleep, the brain shifts what it learned that day to more efficient storage regions of the brain. Each stage of sleep plays a unique role in capturing memories. For example, studying a foreign language requires learning vocabulary, auditory memory of new sounds, and motor skills to correctly enunciate new words. The vocabulary is synthesized by the hippocampus early in the night during “slow-wave sleep,” a deep slumber without dreams. The motor skills of enunciation are processed during Stage 2 non-rem sleep, and the auditory memories are encoded across all stages. Memories that are emotionally laden get processed during R.E.M. sleep. The more you learned during the day, the more you need to sleep that night.”

“Sleep is a biological imperative for every species on Earth. But humans alone try to resist its pull. Instead, we see sleep not as a physical need but a statement of character. It’s considered a sign of weakness to admit fatigue, and it’s a sign of strength to refuse to succumb to slumber. Sleep is for wusses.

“But perhaps we are blind to the toll it is taking on us. The University of Pennsylvania’s David Dinges did an experiment shortening adults’ sleep to six hours a night. After two weeks, they reported they were doing okay. Yet on a battery of tests, they proved to be just as impaired as someone who has stayed awake for 24 hours straight.


Parent involvement

October 4, 2007

Here is a link to an article in today’s NY Times regarding one New Jersey high school teacher’s bold and interesting approach to keeping parents involved in their teenagers’ educations.

He asks parents to read their children’s assignments and post their own comments to a blog maintained for the class.

Whether or not you agree with the mandatory level of involvement, it makes sense that generating meaningful dialog between parent and child can begin with the simplest daily activities, like, “What did you do at school today?”


Topics from today’s repertoire class

September 22, 2007

In the 9:45AM class I will be reviewing certain key fundamentals with parents at each repertoire class during first semester. Here are the points from today’s topics. 

FEET POSITION:

Feet go together in rest position. When playing, the feet must always come apart to the same stance, shoulder width apart so that the body weight can be balanced. This width will also allow in the future the natural transfer of weight between the two feet during playing.

Make sure the right foot does not go behind the body. If you look at the toes, they will be pointed approximately at 45 degrees and the left foot will be SLIGHTLY ahead of the right foot but not by much.

The belly button always faces forward (the audience).

BOW ARM GEOMETRY:

At the frog: triangle (bow arm makes two short sides of the triangle)

In the middle: square

At the point: triangle (bow arm makes one long side of the triangle)

Tool: play while lying on ground and turned to right side. Nose, scroll and left shoulder point toward ceiling. Parent makes sure the left shoulder stays in this position during playing. Child makes sure the bow does not touch the bow guide.


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