Posts Tagged ‘recorder’

Girlfriend

Gabe

Gabe has a girlfriend. This was vouchsafed to L by text, while they sat across the room from each other. And the ‘going out’ status, it appears, was also secured by text. But details are thin. She has been spotted when picking Gabe up from her house. When I asked him some deliberately unthreatening questions, like “What’s she into?”, he said “Normal stuff”. L has encouraged him to ask her to visit us. Gabe declined as we’re too embarrassing.

Robin

Robin is put out by Gabe and I going to Test cricket together. He made me promise to take him to a cricket match and so we went, as a whole family, to a T20 match at Old Trafford. Everyone found it pleasant, helped by a beautiful warm July evening, if lacking in drama and, to Gabe, inferior to Test cricket. We spend the second innings at the top of the upper stand at the Statham End, looking down on the ground. Robin was uncomfortable with the height and the steepness of the stand’s pitch, but settled as much as an excitable 8 year old can.

Eliza

Eliza has found some reward for her dedication to music. She practices willingly – not just pieces, but scales, too. At the year 6 leavers assembly, she was appointed leader of the recorder group for next year. It is perhaps not the grandest of the musical jobs (orchestra leader?), but one she will fulfill conscientiously.

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Performers

Eliza

Eliza has sailed through a weekend of musical performances. On Friday, with orchestra and recorder group at a junior school music competition, where as part of the latter ensemble, she won (as the only entrant, but attaining the mark set by the judges). On Saturday, at her music teacher’s annual concert, she played violin and piano. The first didn’t go quite as she wanted, her chin rest falling off the instrument as she stood up to play. But the piano piece (I know him so well) was performed confidently on a grand piano.

Robin

Robin also performed at the junior school music competition, in the choir. In the first class, they achieved the second highest points total, only to be disqualified for singing a piece longer than allowed by the rules. The teacher had to make last minute cuts to their song for the second class, or suffer another disqualification. This upset the choir’s preparation and they weren’t at their best.

Gabe

One of the features of Gabe’s first year at Grammar School were the large, purple congratulatory postcards from the school for good results, effort or engagement. Over half-way through year two and there haven’t been any – although he continues to perform well. Then his year two duck was broken last week, with a card from his drama-dance teacher praising Gabe for his preparation several weeks ago for the piece he participated in the school play – Singing in the Rain. Gabe had not encouraged L or me to see it and when L tried to get tickets they were sold out, so we never got to see this performance. Gabe didn’t really understand why he’d been sent the postcard and was unclear what it was about his preparation for the play that was being celebrated.

Bridgewater Hall

Robin

One evening last week, Robin, in his first term in the school choir, went to the Bridgewater Hall to take part in a charity concert. Sitting on the front row, he sang four songs. He confirmed it was the most nerve-wracking experience of his life – there was an audience of “13 hundred, that’s one thousand three hundred” he explained. His favourite moment? Waving to his best friend A who was in the audience.

Eliza

At home, Eliza is in semi-permanent practice mode for Christmas concerts. Recorder, treble recorder and violin are played. For variety, Eliza plays her recorder group and orchestra pieces on the piano. Along with the carols, she particularly enjoys ‘Chim chim chiree’.

Gabe

Gabe relies on his considerable natural talent to carry him through music lessons, barely practising from one week to the next. Threatened with the loss of this privilege unless he shows more commitment, he has made some effort. An agreement with his teacher that he will learn jazz pieces seems to have helped.

Development Centre exit

Robin

Week-by-week, for a whole year, Robin has been going to the Burnley FC development centre. We’ve never known when it will end, but it’s felt like it must be around the corner for most of those 12 months. Perhaps not for Robin, for whom it’s become part of his routine.

The end came suddenly. A training session brought to a close five minutes early. All the under eight players and parents gathered together and told that the Club had decided that the centre was for younger boys only. So, a whole age group, rather than individual boys, were dropped.

Robin has seemed to cope with the reverse. But when L, who was away the weekend it happened, asked him about it a few days later, Robin said he couldn’t talk about it and sealed her lips.

Eliza

Eliza played three instruments and four pieces at this year’s school musical soiree. Solo on piano and violin, and in a group for two recorder tunes. Each time she performed well, her commitment to practice paying off.

Gabe

Gabe’s technology class this term has been cookery. Each fortnight he has brought home very tasty morsels, including a pasta dish and bakewell tarts. The biggest challenge may be getting the ingredients. Firstly, remembering to tell L or me what he needs. Secondly, measuring out the quantities and packing them for school. This comes with the instruction that it should be done unaided by adults. This week, he was annoyed that he was marked down for his slow cleaning up despite, he believed, doing more than anyone else.

Crazy hair/own clothes day

The country’s co-ordinated day of giving to the less fortunate finds expression at our schools with relaxation, at a price, in uniform rules.

Robin

The infant school encouraged its pupils to come with crazy hair. The boys entered more fully into the spirit with coloured hair and gel shaped mohawks quite common.

Robin’s hair-do was unique. Its style mimicked the Prodigy. Eliza and L jointly made 16 little ponytails across his head. Passers-by stared on the walk to school and his classmates told each other to look at Robin in the playground.

Eliza

Eliza was allowed to wear her own clothes to school. A red dress and sparkly tights were striking. She carried her uniform in a bag for that evening she was taking part in a contest as part of the school orchestra and recorder group. Both outfits won, although the opposition was thin.

Gabe

Own clothes meant anxiety for Gabe that he may wear something that would make him distinctive. He worked his mobile hard before leaving for school. A text came in saying that one friend wasn’t wearing chinos. The permission to wear a hoodie wasn’t clarified definitively, but he took the chance anyway.

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Double gold (again)

Gabe

Gabe returned to the Liverpool Performing Arts Festival at St George’s Hall as part of the school orchestra and recorder group. The latter won their competition, facing no opposition whatsoever, with Colonel Bogey and Calypso Carnival. The orchestra came top of their group, winning a distinction for playing Tordilion and The Sound of Silence. L and I got to see the school assembly celebration performance. The music was precise, controlled and really arranged and played with real sophistication.

Robin

Pancake day drove Robin to distraction. Because of his egg allergy he wasn’t in the group that made pancakes on the first day. Furious on leaving school he turned on L: “It’s your fault, you growed me.” With forbidden pancakes made at home, he kept up the bad temper for the rest of the day. Back at school, he finally had pancakes that he could touch, made with our soya egg substitute, and found he liked them.

Eliza

The new year at gymnastics has seen Eliza performing forward rolls on the beam and hanging from the wall-bars with her legs stretched out parallel to the floor. Her favourite new manouevre is the kick-over. From a crab position, she kicks her legs up and over, flipping herself over and landing the other way up on all fours. Initially the crab was with feet elevated on a support, or sofa when practising at home. But, with concerted practice, the kick-over is now essayed with her feet starting on the floor, on a level with her hands.