We have a new addition to the music studio: Lydia!
For years we have had cats, including my beloved Sophie, her brother Watson, and their mother Stella. And so when the last two died last spring, it felt pretty empty over here. If you’ve ever had to put a pet down, you know how it leaves a hole in your life, your heart, and your home.
With my husband’s illness and our planned travels in May and August, it seemed like good timing and so we endured the loss. I got in touch with a breeder of mini aussies who plans on having a litter ready to adopt in December 2019. We put ourselves on the list for a female, black and white mini.
And then, I got this picture in a text from our son Jamie, with the words “Look what Grandma and Papa have!”
Oh my, something was up. They already have two big dogs. And we were due to arrive at their house for a visit in a week.
My dad teaches piano at ASU, and one of his doctoral students bought a puppy for her children to play with while she practices long hours. Unfortunately, potty training was a challenge in these circumstances, and so at four months the pup was still making messes all over the house. Stressful! And so, knowing that my parents are great with dogs, she asked them to take her.
She just happens to be a female, black and white mini aussie. Perfect!
And so Lydia came home with us. It’s a little earlier than we were planning on, and 90% of her care (and exercise!) falls to me. However, she has quickly and thoroughly filled the hole in our lives, our hearts, and our home. Yes, we have had to work hard to get her potty manners under control, but because her first family’s children played violin and cello, she settles nicely during lessons (as long as we ignore her). Priorities, people!
We were out for a walk the other day, and I saw a front doormat that said “I hope you like cats”. I need one that says “I hope you like dogs” because when you come for your lesson, you can count on a warm welcome from our sweet, extraverted little Lydia. She loves you all! And hopefully one of these days I’ll get her to keep all four paws on the ground when you arrive. 😊
I haven’t written much over the past two years because my husband has been fighting a long illness, and then last May we ended up with a puppy. So free time has been in short supply!
However, I remembered a finger independence exercise from my childhood last week when I was in a lesson with my student Evie. I don’t know what it’s called, so we named it “Second Finger Sit-Ups”.
Evie is at the point in her beginner book when she is playing tunes with both high and low 2nd fingers, sometimes back-to-back or with just a note in between. She has a great ear, but her fingers don’t always do what they are supposed to.
And so, Second Finger Sit-Ups:
With just the left hand (no bow), place your 1st finger on the D string (on an E) and your 3rd finger on the A string (on a D). Then move your 2nd finger back and forth from F# (high 2 on the D string) to C natural (low 2 on the A string) while keeping the 1st and 3rd fingers down.
Go slow at first, and make sure your hand stays relaxed. Tapping your thumb while keeping the fingers down helps release the tension, and imagine your left hand hanging on the fingerboard by the tips of your fingers.
Use your 1st and 3rd fingers as guides for where to put your second finger: high 2s just behind the 3rd finger and low 2s just in front of the 1st finger. And you don’t have to raise the 2nd finger very high – just enough to move it cleanly to the next string.
Be sure to tap the 2nd finger on the tip, inside corner, and keep all your fingers round and relaxed.
Evie had trouble at first lifting and lowering the 2nd finger. It’s like you’re looking at the finger, but it won’t move and you don’t know why. Try touching the top of the second finger to help your brain make the connection.
At first it feels a little like the first time you tried to tap your head and rub your stomach, but if you go slowly and do it a little every day, you’ll get it.
Quodlibet: A piece employing several well-known tunes from various sources, performed either simultaneously or in succession. (Schirmer Pocket Manual of Musical Terms)