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September Music Thread

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Wafflenose Fri 01-Sep-17 01:01:16

Hello, and welcome to a new thread for September. This is a lovely, calm and supportive corner of Mumsnet where we can talk about everything to do with music lessons, exams, practice, auditions, and whatever else you like. Contributors of ALL standards and ages welcome. There are lots of experienced music parents on here, but we also have a steady stream of beginners, and the collective knowledge on here is impressive.

I'm Waffle, teacher of woodwind - mainly clarinet and recorder these days. My DH plays the guitar for fun. We have two DDs - sensitive, highly strung and accident-prone Goo (11) who plays the flute and piano, and starts secondary school next week, and laid back, funny Rara (9) who plays the cello and clarinet, and is also a reading machine.

There's not too much going on for us musically this term, apart from auditioning for NCO in October. My main priority will be getting Goo settled in a much bigger school, with a longer day, and she's getting there under her own steam, eek! Luckily for us, we don't have any music exams or secondary school entrance stuff going on, but I know that lots of you do. I am anticipating Grade 8 Flute and Grade 3 Clarinet next term, and Grade 5 Piano in the summer term. I've no idea if Rara will do any more cello exams after the drama of the last one! At the moment, she says she's sticking to the odd numbers. Nutcase.

Minimusiciansmama Fri 01-Sep-17 07:09:20

Efficiently snuck in right on the turn of September there, waffle! It worries me that it's September already.

My little one is a wee clarinetist and pianist. Quite a busy term for her with her first proper solos in a concert in a couple of weeks, starting CATs, NCO audition and a new orchestra, plus 3 ensemble concerts. She's excited but a bit of nerves at moving on from her beloved teacher. I don't know what or when her next grades will be, we are in the hands of two new teachers! But we are very much hoping she can stay with the same exam board

Anyway.... happy September to all.... (hmm, still not convinced I want it to be September and back to proper work/termtime madness!)

Trumpetboysmum Fri 01-Sep-17 07:28:05

I don't want it to be September either. I'm mum to ds 12 ( going into year 8) who plays trumpet and piano and dd 9 who sings and plays piano ( plus a bit of cornet not that she ever practices !!)
Ds had a crazy year last year with lots of concerts, solos auditions and grade 7 so I'm looking forward to a much more relaxed year this year- I hope. He's currently away on an Aldeburgh Young Muscician s course which will take up a lot of his spare time - it's like a jd but runs for intensive weeks and weekends instead of every Saturday . He's also got an orchestra tour with school in Germany and will be reauditioning for the NCO in October. But even though he's got a lot on I'm hoping his solo practice can be a bit more relaxed and he can take his time to master new stuff. He also really needs to do grade 5 theory .....hmm

se22mother Fri 01-Sep-17 08:16:12

I don't want it to be September either. 5 weeks till grade 4 violin for dd and we have been too slack with practice this holiday. She also plays clarinet

ealingwestmum Fri 01-Sep-17 08:30:37

Thank you waffle for new thread, happy Sept everyone, new and old!

DD started Y9 today (was SO excited!), turning 14 this month. Plays violin, piano and sings, sitting G7 piano this term. Would love to do more like choir, drama, debating and additional sports but I've had to put my foot down as there just are not enough hours in the day, with the clashes & swimming being the main hours drain outside of music. She is aiming for national level this year, though I reserve judgement. I do secretly admire her goal setting though, even if a little ambitious.

On that note; Drummers; link for you grin Good luck with this weekend's entertaining. And star for Prada for the mammoth task of hosting new school class and overcoming cooking adversities!

catkind Fri 01-Sep-17 08:45:03

Hello, keep thinking I should stick a nose into music threads.

I have DS who's 8 and plays the piano, only grade 1-2ish. He fancies a brass instruments for a second instrument, which I know nothing about. Not sure if he's ready for practicing 2 instruments yet!
DD is 5 and plays the violin, towards the end of Suzuki book 1 though not actually learning with a Suzuki teacher. Though has spent more time playing the piano this summer. Thinking of letting her go for it, she is consistently enthusiastic about practicing both. She says she's going to be a violin teacher when she grows upsmile
I'm an amateur violinist/violist, looking for a teacher to improve technique and learn some repertoire on the latter. Play in 2 regular orchestras and as much chamber music as I can get.

Hoping for tips on getting DC to actually read the dots on the page. DS is really slowed down by it. He seems to only look at the notes the first time he looks at a piece. Frequently caught practicing even new this week piece without having got the book out of the bag. Impressive memory, but it means any rhythms or notes he gets wrong first time stay wrong, and any "subtleties" (in DS's view!) like articulation or dynamics don't happen unless teacher or I make a massive fuss about it. Any ideas? On a string instrument I'd say join an orchestra!

Wafflenose Fri 01-Sep-17 08:55:56

Welcome catkind!

If you can afford it and they have time, I'd let them have their second instrument, so brass and piano respectively. The reading thing you describe is quite common. As a teacher, I'd spend a bit of lesson time playing harder things from ear/ memory with a child like your DS, and lots of time sight reading loads and loads of tunes which are slightly too easy for him. Other than that, I don't really know, but a brass instrument might help because he will start over and consolidate with note reading, and should be able to join an ensemble fairly quickly.

Trumpetboysmum Fri 01-Sep-17 09:07:50

Catkind I think learning a brass instrument is a good idea. If he went for something like a cornet then he might be able to join a junior section of a brass band they would do the teaching and it would be great ensemble playing experience; also very good for sightreading) and they often loan instruments as well. Or look at the local music service ours havebeginner bands that you can join after you've been learning for a term they helped ds in the beginning no end.

Trumpetboysmum Fri 01-Sep-17 09:08:59

Also it's good to let them go with their interests dd is much more inspired by singing than anything else and does way more practice for this. Ds got given a cornet at school and it was just luck really that it turned out to be his thing.

stringchild Fri 01-Sep-17 09:09:31

Morning all. Dd started yr7 today - brand new big school where Shen is a music scholar, and hopefully choirester. Going into her second year of JD. No exams planned after doing G8 cello last term. Auditioning for a much hoped for 5th year in nco - going to be a big blow if doesn't get in with her pals!

Welcome to all 😀

Wafflenose Fri 01-Sep-17 09:14:15

string is she hoping for Under 12s or Under 13s? As most will be going up, but ours are in the small minority affected by the change in cutoff date. I have no idea if Goo is likely to get in again, but she seems resigned to the fate of hardly knowing anybody, if she does!

Wafflenose Fri 01-Sep-17 09:18:08

Good luck with her first day BTW! Can't believe they are having to start on a Friday. We have INSET days on Monday, so both girls start on Tuesday.

Trumpetboysmum Fri 01-Sep-17 09:55:38

Mine don't go back till Tuesday . String and Waffle ds seemed to think that on their course those younger ones in this years under 12a could choose to be in the under 13s next year if they wanted - not sure how this would work and he could be talking absolute rubbish grin

Trumpetboysmum Fri 01-Sep-17 09:58:48

String ,waffle and Prada good luck to your dd's starting in year 7 and anyone else I've forgotten!!

Wafflenose Fri 01-Sep-17 10:11:02

Trumpet I didn't know that. Goo and I had pretty much decided that in the (extremely unlikely) event that Goo were offered U13, we would turn it down, because I don't think she'd cope. She finds it challenging enough already, sometimes her confidence takes a knock, and there will be older and better ones there as well as her friends.

Trumpetboysmum Fri 01-Sep-17 10:35:58

I think it makes much more sense to do it the way they are now organising it. One of the great things about nco is being with others your age ds spends such a lot of time with much older children it's been lovely to see him make so many nco friends of his own age . Who knows if he will get in or not but it's been a fab experience anyway

Minimusiciansmama Fri 01-Sep-17 10:36:23

Good luck to the new year 7s and their nervous mummies! Back Wednesday here, so a nice phased start with dance class going Monday, first band next weekend and the other stuff the following week. No music lesson til 19th then into her first day of CATs on 24th!

Trumpetboysmum Fri 01-Sep-17 10:43:38

Good luck mini with all the new things ! Ds went strangely quiet ( for him) when he turned up to AYM on Wednesday but has settled in now and says he's having a great time

Wafflenose Fri 01-Sep-17 12:21:46

I have just had an email from SWMS, saying the first residential is the same weekend as Goo's compulsory Year 7 residential, and her NCO South Westerlies concert - which is not what we were told six weeks ago! Apparently the venue has let them down and they've had to move it, but I cannot physically have her in three places at once. I got straight on the phone, and she has permission to miss that one now. It was hard enough work making sure she could do both of the other things - I have to pick her up from the school trip 2 hours early, and take her to NCO 2 hours late, but all of that had already been arranged (and paid for!).

Goo is struggling with the whole SWMS thing, so we've had a long talk about it. She is definitely going to the introductory day this month, and cheered up CONSIDERABLY when she heard that the age range for her programme is now 10-13. In the past, it's been 9-16, where she and one other child were 9 and everyone else was in their teens! At audition, she was told she was good enough for the top course, but might be better off socially staying down. I am so, so glad they have made that decision for her, and feel similarly about NCO. She needs to consolidate, and feel like one of the older and more experienced ones, rather than feeling put down by a certain young man, and like she is playing catch-up to the other flutes.

Trumpetboysmum Fri 01-Sep-17 12:34:30

Glad that's sorted waffle it sounds like our life !! that's not nice for Goo if she feels like others are putting her down I'm hoping that AYM is quite inclusive it's a fairly small group and ds knows one of the other trumpet players who's now in his last year hopefully he will keep an eye on ds and support him

Fleurdelise Fri 01-Sep-17 12:38:08

Oh my God, September thread! I think my brain is still somewhere in July! Happy September everyone! Goo luck to all the secondary school new starters, I hope the transition is lean and without bumps.

I have 16yo DS who isn't "musical" (never really intrested in music lessons) he just finished his GCSEs and got into his desired sixth form so now I am adjusting to the thought of having an adult as such and drop the school related nagging. I'll let you know if I succeed.

I also have Dd who just turned 10yo 3 weeks ago and starting in year 6 on Monday, she plays the piano and the clarinet. At the moment there is no direction of music planning for this year, definitely theory exam at some point but also the conversation of grade 6 piano will come at some point we'll see what she decides as she doesn't want any piano exams anymore.

Clarinet- she's starting with her new teacher on 16th September so no clue what grades or if any exams will be taken, her teaching methods or anything, it will take a while to adjust. She'll also audition for NCO with her clarinet without a huge hope of getting in as she's only played for 1 year but we thought why not.

She's also sitting her academic 11+ exam in a week's time and MAT exam on the 12th, if successful she'll be called back for an audition.

A busy September but once is out of the way we can get back into a routine. smile

Minimusiciansmama Fri 01-Sep-17 12:38:46

That sounds a good result all round for her then, waffle. I think its important to stretch them but it's good for their emotional well being and their self confidence if they have a while of being comfortably at the top too; perhaps taking a bit of a role encouraging the younger ones, and feeling good about their abilities sometimes. Not easy balancing that sometimes. I know when DD started band, she was way beyond the ability level of her first band but it was her first ensemble experience and she learnt important skills from that. Also she was more at the same social level as her band mates, though still younger than them all. She's in different bands now and most of them are twice her age and size. It's a nice mix though of a band that stretches her and one that is quite easy, but she hasn't the same friendships

Wafflenose Fri 01-Sep-17 13:00:07

Exactly, Mini - yes, exactly. Goo tends to come across as 14 physically, mentally and socially (and musically in certain settings) but she is still 11, and at the moment she is cripplingly self-conscious, self-critical and under-confident. She needs this year to adjust to her new school, puberty (she's halfway through) and just BREATHE. I do welcome the changes with the NCO year, and not just because Goo is old for her year - it's just that everyone was at different life stages with some in Year 7 and some in Year 6. That said, she is obviously devastated about her friends. If they make Main and she makes U13 eventually, they do work together for some things.

stringchild Fri 01-Sep-17 13:00:54

Trumpet and Waffle - dd said that some children on the course had heard from their parents that the nco office has said they can be in the u13s (if they get in); I haven't heard this but we haven't asked. Dd would like to be with her pals who are def u13 but also realises what a school year difference makes physically for a wind instrument (and others I guess??). At this point her priority is to get a place at allconfused

Wafflenose Fri 01-Sep-17 13:22:29

I do wonder if that is a rumour that started because a falling out, and one child asking her parents to ring the office asking for her to be bumped up next year. That did happen.

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