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December Music Thread

(674 Posts)
Wafflenose Fri 01-Dec-17 09:11:40

Have a new thread for December!

This is an ongoing chat group for musicians, parents of musicians and anyone interested in music. We talk about practice, scales, theory, instrument hire and purchase, concerts, exams, auditions and loads more. Newcomers and beginners are extra specially welcome - yes, a lot of us now have children who are getting quite advanced, but we all had beginners once. I started the conversation when my eldest was 6 and working towards Grade 1, and we now have learners of all ages and standards on here.

I am a teacher of woodwind, and have two daughters. Goo is 12 and in Year 7. She loves her new school, and has grown up fast since she started. The first few weeks were overwhelming and confusing. She loved the challenge of new subjects, new faces, lots of different sports, etc. Unfortunately, she is a poster child for complacency, is now finding it all very easy, and doing the bare minimum again, sigh. She extends this approach to music too, putting in a bit of effort at the last minute, and often making an eleventh hour bid to change piece for important performances. She is gregarious, intense and obsessed with her phone. Oops, I forgot to say, she plays the flute and piano. Grade 8 flute is pencilled in for some time next year (teacher is campaigning to wait until train tracks come off) and she hasn't performed on the piano or taken any exams yet.

Rara is 9, and a completely different kettle of fish. She likes music, but she likes reading, art and making things even more. She's talkative, eccentric and highly creative. I have no idea how her mind works. She is in Year 5 at the village primary, and couldn't really care less about academics. She plays the cello (working at an early Grade 4 level) and clarinet. Some of her clarinet pieces are Grade 4, but she is having some technical problems at the moment, mainly due to her size and incorrect placement of her fingers. So the next exam she does will probably be Grade 3.

Both girls are members of South West Music School (Rara starting next month) and both auditioned for the NCO. Goo was very pleased with herself, but Rara had an absolute disaster. She bounced back within a day though.

Doubleup Fri 01-Dec-17 10:06:04

Thanks for the new thread Wafle - 1st of December already! On the downward slope to Christmas and slowly ticking off the various rehearsals, performances and competitions that are coming up before then.

DD1 is in Y10 and plays oboe (planning Grade 7 next term) and alto sax (did Grade 6 yesterday). She is a music scholar at her school and so is heavily involved in their various ensembles. At next week's carol service she will be hopping between orchestra, choir and a wind quintet that they put together a week ago.

DD2 is in Y6 and has been playing bassoon for the last 3 years, starting on a mini bassoon originally. She passed Grade 7 in June this year, but I will be pushing back on any more exams for a while. She needs to grow a bit and increase her lung capacity, as well as working on her confidence. She was in NCO Under 11s this year and U10s last year, but not so sure about her audition this year. Currently working on pieces for a couple of school auditions in January, but as usual, her teacher is not going for the easy option.

LooseAtTheSeams Fri 01-Dec-17 11:21:00

Good grief, December already!
DS1 is in Y11 and in the middle of mock GCSEs. His main love is bass guitar, which he took up for fun - all the way to grade 8. He is working for a music performance diploma and needs to find a specialist teacher. He also plays drums and tuned percussion - around grade 6 level, maybe a bit higher on snare drum.
To my relief, his application form to a school sixth form with the A level options he wants and good extracurricular music made it by today's deadline. Fingers crossed they actually offer him a place...
DS2 is in Y8 and working on grade 5 cello, piano and working up to it on theory. He may start Music tech club after school to get to grips with composition as recommended by his music teacher.
I'm a very latecomer to piano and battling my way through the grade 5 syllabus!

Nigglenotes Fri 01-Dec-17 12:16:00

Nooo! I haven't pencilled in December for at least another two weeks. Although at least the NCO results are due next week/week after!

DD is Year 5 and plays violin/piano. If she is not successful with NCO this year, we will try again. She has NSSO and the county strings ensemble though and they have their first full day rehearsal on Sunday. Grade 5 violin exam on Tuesday. Her village primary does no music except all school singing, so there is nothing going on there and performance opportunities have to be found elsewhere.

Younger DD is Year 2 and starting some grade 2 violin pieces.

Good luck to all musical minis who are performing at the NCO concert in Birmingham this weekend!

Kutik73 Fri 01-Dec-17 14:22:16

December already... Thank you for the new thread, Waffle!

DS is Year 6 and plays violin/piano (copied from Niggle...). This time last year, he had zero experience of violin playing outside of his not-so-musical school, no experience of orchestra/ensembles, nothing. His first ever orchestra experience was NCO regional rehearsal in January, he loved it so decided to join in a local youth orchestra in April, and now also goes to JD. We are still quite new to all those musical activities though feel like it's been like this for many years!

DH and I are going out tonight, but our babysitter just called me she cannot make it... Panicking, and thinking to ask a neighbour's DC (19 yo) who once told me he would be available if needed. Never asked young DCs to look after DS so not sure how much I should offer... I know a 16 yo who charges £6, but supposed it's too low for a 19 yo...? Sorry totally irrelevant to music, but I am panicking a bit...

Wafflenose Fri 01-Dec-17 14:40:05

I would offer him £30 and dinner or packet of biscuits (depending on the time). That's what we pay late teens.

Kutik73 Fri 01-Dec-17 14:52:26

Thanks Waffle. I just offered £20 or so for 8-11pm. Our usual babysitter charges us £8/hour which is a bargain in our area (usually £9-11/hr). So I was thinking based on the rate. Oh dear, do you think we offered too low...??

Mendingfences Fri 01-Dec-17 14:58:09

Just popping on quickly. The dds have been asked to play for the local pensioners Christmas meal. Dd1 negotiated her own terms...... and they are playing for cake 😁

Wafflenose Fri 01-Dec-17 14:59:32

No, that's fine. I've really never thought it through by the hour, but we go to see Fairport Convention every year, and tend to be out from 6.30-11 or slightly later.

Kutik73 Fri 01-Dec-17 15:11:44

OK, thanks. By 8pm, DS will have finished his meal, shower, everything and by 9pm he will be asleep. So hopefully the 19 yo feels £20-25 would be fair amount...

Trumpetboysmum Fri 01-Dec-17 22:53:27

Wow December I'm not really ready for that . Thanks for the new thread waffle. I'm mum to ds 12 who plays trumpet is at around grade 8 standard but won't take the exam for a long time - he's got to learn all the scales yet !! .He also plays piano . He's currently very busy with Aldeburgh Young Muscicians ( east anglias answer to a jd) and waiting for his NCO results. he was in the under 12s this year , but we have no idea how it went the playing was fine the sight reading fine but what he was asked to do was a bit random - we shall see...Just had the first of his Christmas concerts tonight where he played in all the ensembles !! I also have a dd 10 who loves to sing and plays piano and cornet. She played her first public cornet piece tonight - jingle bells for the Christmas tree lights turn on and she did really well. I'm not sure I'm ready for the noise of two brass players in the house 😆

TaggieOHara Sat 02-Dec-17 00:24:22

December is the one month I don't forget because of the slightly obsessive countdown to advent calendars. I'm mum to two DS's.

DS1 is 12 and plays the piano to about grade 6 standard. Piano is just one amongst many interests for him, and he is mainly into maths and science.

DS2 is 9 plays violin and piano. He is also a chorister. He is about grade 7 on violin and grade 2 on piano. Along with others, we are anxiously awaiting NCO results! We are also struggling through the Christmas choir season.

raspberryrippleicecream Sat 02-Dec-17 08:53:59

December is carefully planned out here too!

I have DS2, 15 (just) trombone Grade 7 standard, piano working towards Grade 8 next summer and organ around Grade 4 standard. He has just begun euphonium at school (free GCSE lessons). He also sings, ex-chorister and still a small involvement with the Cathedral choir.

DD (17) plays alto sax (Grade 8)and bari sax and along with DS2 plays in school and Music service groups.

I also have brass playing DS1 at uni, studying Physics but in 6 or 7 groups and having a great time. His uni is near enough we can travel to some of his concerts which is great.

Trumpet welcome to my world! Two brass players (plus sax). Thankfully we have nice neighbours!

Taggie I'm spending this morning at Chorister auditions, to talk parents about the commitment and the benefits from a parents' point of view.

TaggieOHara Sat 02-Dec-17 08:59:20

Raspberry I hope your morning goes well. It is kind of you to give up your time. I certainly appreciated insight from chorister parents when we were considering this route for DS smile

Greenleave Sat 02-Dec-17 09:46:42

thanks so much Waffle for our usual monthly corner.

Taggie, I could also say mine is more interested in maths and science (similar to your DS1) however for the benefit of this corner she also plays violin and piano. Piano we started with our neighbor since she was nearly 5 or something, we only started doing proper lesson when she wanted to quit couple of years later(She just turned 10 last week). We started violin with the school as every one in her class enroll at yr 2. 6 months later she wanted to drop like everone else then our piano teacher mentions he could also help and violin is an orchestra instrument, it will be great for her musician ship at early age. We have been struggling with violin teacher the last nearly 2 years as most of the good/permanent teachers we could find only have lessons at home(both myself and my husband do long hours and travel 1 hour each way to work everyday, and we are both completely non-musical, my husband believes in heavy metal rock and I am only interested in having a glass of wine and snooze). For example we had 1 teacher and it went well for 3 lessons then she moved and asked us to pay £25/each lesson more for her travelling and still not guarantee about regular lesson. The current teacher is a concert pianist, the last 2.5 months we had 3 lesson, she will be touring the whole December. I have never thought of weekend music school however it looks like it will be better for her(and me) that everything will be in 1 place and there will someone who worries about lessons, performance, progress and most importantly she will have like minded friends. We go to a Sunday Orchestra and love the biscuits there(and enjoy making music).
We are playing in a church tomorrow, everyone goes to this very small church seems to appreciate her playing and we are being asked to do more and more. She loves it too as its the great chance she could perform piano in public.

Thats end of my December presentation. We are maniac with advert calendar too, I had to get 2, there is another one for our 3 years old. Santa also has done Xmas shopping(via amazon prime even there is a long wish list)

Kutik73 Sat 02-Dec-17 10:22:27

I had a great time last night. Our friends picked some fruits and vegetables from our allotment and did interesting experiment and served us lots new drinks and foods. Loved gooseberry sparking wine, especially! There were two ex soldiers at the dinner who told us fascinating stories of their adventures in Papua New Guinea, China and Japan. Then they sang a few songs they learnt during those adventures. They were not a musician, their voice was not trained, but it was so touching and beautiful. I felt this was how music should be. A great tool of socialising, bonding and sharing and not at all privilege. There is no such thing of 'musical' nor 'non musical', it's for everyone. smile

Icouldbeknitting Sat 02-Dec-17 10:25:56

I have a 17 year old brass playing DS. Usually December is mad with multiple concerts a week but he's not been to a band practice in five weeks because of a major family crisis. He has a music centre concert tonight and hopefully he will meet up with one of the bands tomorrow in a local shopping centre for a bucket collection. He's been asked to play with another random local band in a concert tomorrow and I'm hoping that this is the start of the path back to something resembling normal.

Mendingfences Sat 02-Dec-17 11:57:21

Sorry total lack of intro from me...
So i'm the brass player in the family 😁 although not to a particularly high standard. Dd1 11 plays violin and piano (newly started) dd2 9 plays flute and ds 7 plays drums and piano. The girls are in a sort of cym equivalent. Decembers performances started today with both me and dd2 having 2 engagements....

Doubleup Sat 02-Dec-17 13:07:53

Just been at DD1's school fair where she and a friend were were playing carol duets and will be heading to DD2's fair shortly where she will be playing carols with the recorder group. Still not sure I'm quite in the Christmas mood yet...

Mistigri Sat 02-Dec-17 13:41:53

I'm more of a lurker than a participator these days but I do follow the thread regularly!

I have two musical teens. DD is 16 and plays piano and guitar to quite a good standard but is busier with school stuff this year (her final year at French lycée) and very preoccupied with what she will do and where she will go next year. Unfortunately it probably won't be to study music. Shame as she is a very gifted composer/ song writer although not a virtuoso instrumentalist.

DS is 14 and a new guitarist/pianist but a quick learner. He has guitar lessons with a jazz professional, but no piano lessons so far, he just picks up pieces that I'm learning and has a remarkably good go at them (which is somewhat demoralising).

I also play guitar (not very well), and piano (at a semi-reasonable level - I played as a child/ teen to around grade 6-7 level) but seem to be permanently short of time to practice.

Mistigri Sat 02-Dec-17 13:48:35

Icouldbeknitting I hope your family situation improves, family crises are horribly stressful for all concerned. I think music can be a very helpful coping mechanism for teens in such situations - my OH is in hospital and I think that playing a lot of guitar and piano has really helped DS.

Loose good luck with the applications. DS's guitar teacher is a pro jazz bassist as it happens - I imagine that really good bass teachers are quite hard to find. DD would love to play more bass and we had hoped that she would have some lessons this year - but there just isn't time.

LooseAtTheSeams Sat 02-Dec-17 21:35:10

We had end of term music concerts today as well ICouldBe and I was thinking of your DS. Hope it went well. Ours was organised into two concerts so I saw DS2 at the end of the first one and DS1 at the end of the second.
DS2 wasn't totally impressed with his teacher and I agreeing that he will take G5 cello next term and spend Christmas sorting out his scales! He's quite happy to do his solo in the Carol concert, though, so I'm looking forward to that in a couple of weeks.
Misti hope OH better v. soon. I must admit to qualms over my ability to find a really good bass teacher but our guitar teacher did promise to help.
Greenleave love your DD's Christmas list!

Icouldbeknitting Sat 02-Dec-17 21:47:26

So far so good, he was fine at the concert tonight and was checking what the uniform was for tomorrow morning. That means that in his head he is playing so I think he might manage that one too.

Greenleave Sat 02-Dec-17 22:30:55

Oh I could, hopefully it was over and all is well for everyone, its hard enough with normal life not mentioning other (especially mental) hardship. Hugs.

Loose: hope you had a great time at their concerts, do they go to the same school? If so then at least it wasnt too much if driving around for you.

We went to a Xmas fair today too and it was lovely.

raspberryrippleicecream Sat 02-Dec-17 22:52:11

Icould glad all well so far. Thinking of you and DS.

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