The Junior School gymnasium was packed to the brim Monday morning, as anxious parents, classmates and friends came out to hear the debut performance of our Grade 4 strings ensemble.
For the majority of the young musicians, it was only three short months ago that they picked up their new stringed instrument for the first time. They quickly learned how to properly hold a bow and the right fingering techniques, and before long they were making noises. Fast forward to late November, and those noises have become wonderful music!
Below, a few of our Grade 4 musicians reflect on the first concert together:
“I am proud of myself because I accomplished a task (playing the violin) that I thought would be hard for me at the start of the year, but then I got the hang of it! We were successful because we played our songs really well. I could hear the other kids around me, and I could tell we were really good. I also think we were good because some of the parents gave us a standing ovation, which probably means we did a great job. The one thing that was tricky was getting to the right page fast enough! This is because I got confused when we had to play Aunt Rhody because I thought we were about to play The Travel Song, so then I turned to Aunt Rhody as fast as I could, but they already started without me! I was surprised about how well we did in the concert because we have only been playing for three months. Unbelievable! My goal is to try and learn different songs outside of school, including more Christmas carols.” – by Cameron
“What was successful for me was the setup of the chairs and stands and instruments because I thought it would be awkward with the close quarters, but it turned out really well! What I am most proud of is I think I played pretty well. I’m proud of that because I had never touched a stringed instrument before this year and in a short span of time here I am playing Jolly Old St. Nicholas. What was challenging was playing a certain song because I had practiced all of the song but we had to cut it short – I didn’t know that, though, so I played the wrong note at the end. Another thing that was challenging was performing in front of a crowd, because I get really nervous. What surprised me was that performing in front of the crowd was harder than I thought. I wasn’t really nervous until we were all set up and everyone was filing into the gym. A goal that I think I should work towards is tracking the music because sometimes I got a bit lost when we were performing Aunt Rhody. I played a wrong note near the end, which kind of confused me for the rest of the song, and if I was tracking the music chances are that I would not have got the note wrong.” – by Avery
“I am most proud of my solo because I worked really hard to make it perfect and flow. I think I did the best I could, but I’m going to get better in Grade 5, 6 and 7. Our group was successful because we did what we needed to do. I think that because I didn’t hear a lot of noises in the gym and I was proud about that! I didn’t think anything was very tricky or challenging because I’m good at my violin and I’ve practice a lot – mostly every day – and I go to lessons every Wednesday. I was surprised I didn’t make any mistakes in my solo or anything of the other pieces. I’m also surprised about my strength because I have stage fright, so that means I handled it very well.” – by Caitlyn
“I was super proud that I did all the songs right and did the transition from A to G correctly. I was successful at playing the songs at a good speed. It was tricky to finish the end of Jolly Old St. Nicholas because there are a lot of tricky notes that are kind of random. I was surprised that I wasn’t nervous at all. I was also surprised that the Kindergarteners sitting near me were such attentive listeners. A goal for next time is to perfect my notes and to not start so early on the songs. I am looking forward to performing and listening to other concerts.” – by Owen
“What I am the most proud of related to our performance is our confidence, because we were very sure that we were going to do well. Everybody was very excited, too, which just added to the confidence! What was successful for me was my note reading in the performance because I play piano, and the notes for the violin are the same as piano, so it is pretty easy for me to read notes. What was tricky for me was actually playing the right sound on my violin. For some reason, I couldn’t get the right sound! When we are in the music room playing, every note sounds pretty good! But for some reason, on the stage, I couldn’t quite replicate that.” – by Chelsea
“I am probably most proud of not being nervous for the show because I have performed before and I know there is nothing to be nervous about. What was successful for the group was the great sound we made. We did not want to sound bad in front of so many people. The trickiest thing for me was probably making sure we were reading the right music at the right time. This was because we did not want to play the wrong song.” – by Caitlin
“I am proud of myself because I played really well and I did better than I thought I would. I thought I was very successful by not letting my stage fright ruin my playing. What was tricky for me was not looking at Ms. Fisher when I forgot where we were. A goal I am working towards next time is to only look at my notes and also to get rid of my stage fright.” – by Rupert
“What surprised me was that we messed up a little on Open String Blues, but were quite good at the hardest one, Jolly Old St. Nick. I am most proud of the fact that I was able to play with the weight of all the people watching me. A goal that I am going to work on is staying on the beat because I play fast sometimes. What was tricky for me was not getting lost when reading the music because I was all over the page sometimes. What I think was successful for me and the group was blending the sounds together, because from what I heard the sounds sounded blended and smooth.” – by Everest
“I am proud of how far the whole class (and me individually) has come and all the new songs we have learned because when we all started off we did not know anything. Something that I was successful at was being focused because when I really want to do something important, I just zone in. Something that was tricky for me was tracking the music because I was looking at my parents while I was playing. Something that surprised me is how many parents came – there were even other relatives there. A goal for next time would be not talking to the people next to me.” – by Julia
“I’m proud of how far I have come since our first strings class. Practice really does make perfect! I thought we were very successful at working together. It was tricky to stay calm, as I was a bit nervous performing in front of all our parents. I was surprised at how good everyone said we sounded, and they meant it. I never noticed how much we improved until I heard us at the concert. A goal for me in strings is to put three fingers down on the D string as fast as I can. It may be easy for some, but it’s a challenge for me.” – by Deristhi
“l was proud that I played every song and most of us knew what we were doing, even though most of us had no idea what we were doing three months ago. Many of us didn’t even know how much to tighten our bows! I think that our grade has become quite good at playing our instruments on our own and as a group because we all sounded good, with a few minor mistakes here and there. The tricky part for me was following along with the music because I memorized all of our songs. I was surprised by our classes learning so quickly and playing so well. I want to read the music instead of just memorizing it. Memorizing is useful, but still reading the music is a better strategy to play.” – by Will