Monday, June 18, 2012

Piano

Once upon a time, when the twins were 2 I signed them up for a music class. It came with a cd - lots of rhythm activities, a bit of craft and listening to 'high' and 'low' sounds, some percussion...it was 45 minutes of playing and having fun. the songs were short and simple and often had actions to go with them. I used to push them up in the big double pram. If there was an activity that was done in pairs (parent and child) then usually the teacher would take Kit, sometimes Hannah.
I remember when I first approached her. I felt nervous. I had the twins in their cumbersome pram and we were at the local shopping centre. The music school owner/teacher had a table set up with a banner and some flyers. I asked her about it. In those early days I was still learning about how and when to 'reveal' the diagnosis....it was getting easier but this was another milestone. I can't remember what I said...but when I said Down Syndrome...the teacher simply asked "what's that?" and when I said that it meant low tone etc (I tried to just mention the things that I thought would impact on music lessons)..her response was very pragmatic "I think it'll be fine. I haven't had anyone with DS before but I have had a couple fo students with autism. Let's give it a go. I'm sure she'll be fine" or words to that effect...anyway - if you go back through the history of this blog I bet you'll find a post that brags that not only did Hannah LOVE the music class - but seriously - she was the best student in the class! The smile never left her face and she was a natural at the actions to the songs.
But then time as time went on the course moved from being a singing, dancing listening and rhythm class to... a piano lesson. We stuck with it. They stuck with it too... and Hannah did do fine at the first book and improved when she repeated it but it was just getting too hard... she'd started school and I had lots to do to help her with her reading and her counting...it didn't feel right to start discipling her to practise piano... and so we moved her to a dance class - a mainstream class that she loves and still attends today.
Kit on the other hand kept up the music lessons. I bought an old keyboard from a woman at work. It was not the full complement of keys and it wasn't weighted but it was fine for the first few years. Then the piano lessons started to get harder more quickly and so this year we gave the old keyboard to my sister for her son and we spent more than we could really afford on a full keyboard with weighted keys for Kit. (Hey at least it wasn't the beautiful upright piano that I really had my eye on...)
And so we come to the purpose of this post...Kit got his semester report today. It is the best yet (and they have all been good). I am so very proud of him. The comment makes me positively beam with pride.
"I would like to congratulate Kit on reaching the Intermediate course! Kit always brings great enthusiasm to class and is currently enjoying the new elements of Book1. Kit plays with a beautiful hand technique and listens well to teacher instruction. He has excellent aural and rhythmic skills which allow him to learn quickly, and Kit alway practices hard and performs confident solos. Kit might like to start composing some of his own songs as an extra challenge! ...Thank you for working so hard.."
How cool is that - and of course the most impressive part is the A for effort.
Now I wonder when it will be time to get Hannah back into playing a music instrument? I don't think that this course is right for her but I love how the teacher loves to see Hannah in class watching and is always keen to hear how she is going.

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