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Tuesday, 27 August 2013 02:31

Getting Ready for Fall

It seems barely a few weeks ago that summer still stretched out ahead of us, with September nothing but a distant haze on the horizon. But suddenly here we are registering for activities, buying school supplies and scheduling back-to-school haircuts. (Actually if you have the haircuts down, you’re a more organized parent than I am!)

Here at WSM, we’re busy reorganizing the teaching space and putting the final touches on our brand new website and brochures. There are just a few more summer lessons to teach in this final week of August. Before we know it, we’ll be welcoming you all back to a new year of musical learning, and exclaiming over the fact that we teachers have apparently shrunk over the summer.

Getting back into the routine can be a bit of a jolt. Although many students do take some summer lessons and keep up some practice, we understand that with so many other enticing and exciting things do over vacation, sometimes instruments get a little - shall we say - lonely!

Here are a few tips for getting to know them again, and feeling ready to start the year.

  1. Open up your instrument case and make sure everything’s in good working order. It’s frustrating to arrive at your first lesson and find that you can’t play because you have a broken string! Strings can be ordered by phone or online, and installed in advance if you give us a call; or a quick visit to your rental company will get the job done.
  2. Gather all your materials into a bag ready to go, next to your instrument case. All students have at least a book of repertoire (songs) and a notebook; many will also have a scale or method book. Violinists and violists have shoulder rests, and cellists and bassists have floor protectors or end-pin straps. Don’t forget rosin! Check that all these are in working order. If any are missing or broken you still have time to find or replace them, and get them into that bag, before your lesson.
  3. Take a few minutes to think about some musical goals for the year. Is there a piece you’ve always wanted to play, or loved at the last recital, and you wonder if it’s within your grasp now? Are you ready to take the plunge into district or youth orchestra auditions? Bring those goals to your first lesson, so you and your teacher can make a plan to reach them. (If you’re thinking of auditions, also print and bring the requirements so you can get a head start!)
  4. Play a little! Get those fingers working by playing through some of the easier pieces you did last year, and a scale or two. It doesn’t need to be a lot, but once you get going you may surprise yourself! Try that piece you played so beautifully at the June recital – it’s probably a little rusty, but you learned it well and the muscle memory is still in there, just waiting for you to nudge it into action again.
  5. If despite your best intentions, you suddenly realize it’s the day of your first lesson of the year, and step 4 never happened – don’t worry! We are looking forward to seeing you again and to getting to work together. After a gentle start and a little review, we’ll be well on the way to exciting new discoveries and adventures on your musical journey!