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Blog as inspiration maybe

With ITED testing this week at school, it was very hard for our quartet to continue on with our project at Harding Middle School. Since our class schedules were swapped every which way and our hours shortened, we were not able to find any practical times to go and visit.

However, something did happen that was brought to my attention. My viola teacher and our quartet’s coach told me that this past Sunday, a student of her’s had a performance so she went to go and listen. While there, the mother of her student made a point to tell her that she had been following our blogs and had been truly inspired and thrilled at what our quartet is doing at Harding Middle School; as well as what every other group is doing to incorporate music into community service and to promote the Arts. I found it humbling that strangers are following our journey along with us and are able to see the value in what we have been trying to do, by building strong and confident musicians in our community.

-Iman

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11-April-2011 at 12:59 pm Leave a comment

First Week at Harding!

This past Tuesday was our group’s first time visiting the middle schoolers and leading an hour of sectionals with them. With the choice of playing Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance or a children’s song dubbed Harriet the Spider, I was surprised the spider won over the Grammy winning artist. But no matter; regardless of the song choice, I would have been blown away either way! The 7th grade viola’s pick up on stuff so fast!

Mrs. Hauschildt had warned us that the 7th graders were not used to playing in 6/8 time, so we all seemed a bit hesitant at first to jump right in. But after a C scale warm-up we dove right into the song and I became so surprisingly pleased! Their off beats were off when they were supposed to be, their on beats obviously on. I could tell that we needed to work on keeping a steady pulse and tempo with them because the song gradually got faster and faster, but no matter; they could play it!

I then took the violas out of the room to practice clapping this tricky lick in the song. As I began to start counting off so we could start, as if on cue, the fire alarm went off! We all froze, snatched up our instruments (like the dedicated violists we are) and filed out of the orchestra room onto the lawn outside. Kyle, Christina, Eric, and I then realized that we had to leave for class again, sad that our time went by so fast!

Even though it was only a 30 minute rehearsal, it felt great to see the big amount of improvement some one-on-one time during sectionals can be. I know that I can speak for all of us when I say that we cannot wait to come back again and continue on with our project!

-Iman

5-April-2011 at 1:09 pm Leave a comment

Second Meeting

OH NO THIS IS VERY LATE! No matter, this topic is still worth discussing!

Our meeting from two weeks ago was very surprising, actually. I was extremely impressed at how well everyone has been staying on top of their projects and making an enormous amount of progress! It was very inspiring to hear everyone’s ideas again and how they wanted to make a difference through the power of music.

What I found particularly helpful (other than the constant supply of mini Twix bars and cookies) were the group meetings we took part in. Anji was paired with us, and really helped us dig down to the nitty-gritty of our project’s problems with coordinating times and schedules and the logistics of getting to Harding Middle School and back.

With her help, in addition to the input from others formed on the very fun “wows and wonders” sheets, I think our group project is one step closer to efficiently complete our tasks. Thank you guys!

-Iman

5-April-2011 at 1:08 pm Leave a comment

Not Much

Not much happened this week in terms of progress of our project…. We gave the middle schoolers until this last friday to sign up for lessons and will begin private lessons after school starting the week after spring break. Also, our quartet performed our All-City contest piece at our school’s concert last thursday, and got great comments! Hopefully we will be just as good if not better for the upcoming performance on April 2nd.

As of now, I’m just looking forward to a super fun spring break and the next IMM meeting on the 27th! See you guys then!

-Iman

21-March-2011 at 2:43 pm Leave a comment

Presentations!

I usually don’t think about our IMM project on a daily basis, but each time we prepare to present or play for the middle schoolers I get so excited!!!! So as you could well imagine, I was THRILLED to present to the 6th, 7th, and 8th graders this past Tuesday and Wednesday. AND IT WAS A HIT!!!!!!! So many kids were extremely eager to begin lessons ASAP, I don’t think we were expecting it!

We performed for the 7th grade class first and BOY was I nervous. I usually love public speaking but this was our first time presenting to an audience who would actually be seeing us again and working with us, our quartet coach, the middle school orchestra director, AND our IMM coordinator (thanks for being there Sarah!). But we got through it, no worries! All the kids seemed extremely excited and showed it through their massive amounts of questions. This, we weren’t expecting….Questions like “how do you fit orchestra into your schedule?” and “if you could switch your instruments, which would it be and why?” popped up and I think we were all secretly pleased to hear how interested the 7th grade class was.

Now the 8th graders were a different story…. I know when I was in 8th grade I was super eager about everything music-related! But obviously I’m a lot older than I thought because my generation’s 8th grade class was a lot more well-behaved and intrigued….or perhaps our presentation wasn’t “cool” enough for them? Either way they did seem to enjoy it when we played Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” along with them!

The 6th grade class was adorable. I wanted to A) Eat each one of them up! B) Take all of them home with me C) Teach every last one of them D) play with them all day long! SUCH AN ADORABLE AND HIGHLY TALENTED GROUP!! There was a young boy who came up to me and asked me in such a timid voice if i could tune his viola. So with a big smile and high pitched voice I said of course! As I was tuning he asked me if I could play Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” and so I attempted. What started out as Coldplay evolved into Bad Romance and soon I found a small group of viola’s huddled around me listening to Bad Romance! They were all in awe and excited and so happy and smiley! The kid who gave me his viola was jumping up and down and his eyes were all lit up and started calling his friends over to come and listen. I WAS SO HAPPY!!!!!!! When I was done he asked me if he were to take lessons who would be giving it to him and I said me and again, cue the 6th grade jump for joy! 🙂

Overall, a HUGE success! Once I figure it out, I will post the video of our 7th grade presentation here….in the mean time, just imagine 50ish kids jumping up and down, playing bad romance, and getting ready to be taught by 4 awesome musicians.

-Iman

14-March-2011 at 2:03 pm Leave a comment

SUCCESS

Today our quartet finally got together and figured out how and what we are going to be presenting to the Harding Middle schoolers this Tuesday and Wednesday! We have Christina introducing ourselves first, then having her go into her own personal (and positive 🙂 ) experience with a high school lesson teacher, kyle will then discuss more in-depth about what we will be doing at lessons and segway-ing into our first performance piece Mozart’s Quartet in F Allegro. After that, Eric will discuss the master classes/group lessons and Segway us into the last movement of the same quartet which  is a fuge. After all the playing, I will conclude everything up and all of us will have hopefully been convincing and open enough to recruit some willing middle schoolers!! Keep ya updated for how Tuesday and Wednesday go!!!

-Iman

7-March-2011 at 1:09 am Leave a comment

Progress!!

Apologies for being a day late! Our quartet has been very busy with the progress that we have had going on our project for this week.

  • We met with the Harding Director, Mrs. Hasuchildt, and discussed our ideas and plans with her, finally establishing an concert” date next week for us to get the middle schoolers excited about
  • We had a lesson with our coach, Ms. Ponton, on how to teach this past sunday. She taught us the right and wrong ways to critique and help a beginner student, and to make sure that we ALWAYS stay positive when teaching, regardless of your frustration (wouldn’t want to scare the middle schoolers away!)

All in all, a very productive week!!

-Iman

1-March-2011 at 3:42 pm Leave a comment

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