Sunday, April 13, 2014

Spring Piano Pieces

This past month, I have been working on a piece from the Theme from Piano Quintet in A major by Franz Schubert. Franz Schubert was an Austrian composer in the early romantic period, and in short lifespan, he wrote about 600 pieces on the piano, and almost completed 10 symphonies. He was born on January 31, 1797, and died on November 19, 1828. Even though he lived only 31 years, he still managed to succeed in composing music for many instruments.

  • The piece that I played was a very slow and had a lot of emotion. This was the first piece that I actually was able to reach a full octave. An octave, is a cord with 8 notes. My hand has now just grown big enough to reach this chord. Now, I have many more pieces to choose from as most composers use octaves in their pieces.  I hope you enjoyed the piece that I played!

    My sister, Hannah, did a guest post about the pieces she learned this month.

    I have been practicing hard on my four pieces this past month. They were all songs by Tchaikovsky. Tchaikovsky wrote 24 short songs for children, and he dedicated his songs to his seven year old nephew. I am also seven years old, and I played some of his pieces. I really enjoy playing his pieces. If you want to learn more about Tchaikovsky, please visit my older sister, Miriam's blog.

    First, I played Old French Song. Old French Song is a type of song that is slow. I like hearing the loud and quiet. Next, I played Wooden Soldier March. It sounds like there is a march. It was important to play it evenly. There are some parts that are slow and some parts that fast. I like this song because some of it is loud and some of it is quiet. Then, I played the Morning Prayer Song. The Morning Prayer Song is also slow. This song is supposed to be played with the pedal. I can't really reach the pedal so you can see me all the way at the edge of the seat trying to reach the pedal. I like this song because it is very calm. However the end is a little loud and that is my favorite part of the song. Last, I played Polka. Polka is a fast song. I like the melody of the piece. My favorite part of the piece is the beginning of the song. I like the melody of the right hand and the left hand. Polka is a kind of dance. I really liked playing this song. I hope enjoyed listening

    Which piece did you enjoy best?

    Sunday, March 30, 2014

    Outdoor Ed

    Last week, I went to a sleep away camp with all of the fifth grade classes.  The camp was called Outdoor Ed, and we learned about many different plants and animals.  During the five day trip, we saw many animals such as mule deer, red tailed hawks, and many ground squirrels.  We were divided into different trail groups, and we had a naturalist named Catherine that explained to us about the plants and animals that we spotted.  We also had a counselor who was a senior in high school. She took care of us when Catherine wasn't with us, such as at night, and during our meals. On the first day, I dressed in a skirt and a t-shirt with no sweater.  I almost froze that day because as soon as the wind picked up, the temperature dropped.  I learned my lesson to always dress in layers!

    In front of the dorms

    One of my favorite day during camp was when we did the all day, 7 hour hike.  We were the only group that saw a family of mule-deer. We also saw a dead bobcat along the way, which really grossed us out, but we didn't let that ruin our day.

    A family of Mule-Deer

    Dead bobcat

    View from the 7-hr hike

    Chumash lesson
    On a different day, we had a lesson on the Chumash Indian tribe. During the lesson,  we learned how to make necklaces out of abalone shells, tried to make fire without matches, saw different animal furs, and built a shelter from sticks. I was very surprised at how hard it is to start a fire by spinning a stick. We all tried and tried as a group, but we only got a little bit of smoke.  We also saw animal furs from a coyote, skunk, rabbit and dear.  The coyote skull was really cool, as it was large, and fierce-looking. I thought the best part of the whole Chumash lesson was building the shelters. We had to learn to build a small shelter with materials that we could gather in nature.  I was in charge of gathering the sticks, and everyone else was in charge of building the shelter. When we finished, we made a big tent, that all 4 of us could go into!I had an amazing time at Ourdoor Ed, and I will always remember my experience.

    Have you ever been to a sleep away camp? 
    Did you enjoy it?

    Monday, March 24, 2014

    This afternoon, Hannah and I recorded a few pieces that we've wor

    Monday, February 17, 2014

    Winter Orchestra Concert

    About 2 weeks ago, Hannah and I had an orchestra concert. We go to orchestra every Thursdays from 3:45 until 4:45 and work on our 5 pieces that our conductor gave us. This is an all string orchestra, and there are about 60 violins, 3 violas, 20 cellos and 1 base. I sit in the first violin section, and I am third chair. Hannah sits in the second violin section.  Unfortunately, Hannah sits  all the way in the back, directly behind the conductor so you can't see her playing.  This is her first year in an orchestra, and I am sure she will move up closer to the front next year when she gets better. The theme of all of our pieces was music by Russian composers such as Tchaikovsky. Even though we come together every Thursday for rehearsal,  it is our responsibility to make sure that we come prepared and know our parts well. On the day of the concert, we had to wake up early, as we had a rehearsal at a beautiful concert hall. We determined the order of our pieces, rehearsed all of the pieces we were going to perform, and made sure that everyone knew where to sit. After rehearsal, we went home for lunch and a brief rest period.  By the early afternoon, it was time to get dress in a black dress, black tights, and shiny black shoes. At 3:00, we arrived back at the concert hall for the performance.

    The first piece that we played was called Dance of the Tumblers by Nikolay Rimsky. It is a very melodic and fast piece with many trills. The next piece that we played was called Eighteenth Variation by Sergei Rachmaninoff. It is one of my favorite pieces because it has a beautiful melody,  and it is very slow. The third piece we played was called Souvenirs of Saint Petersberg. This is a a famous and fun Russian melody. We learned this piece the fastest, because everyone practiced it the most. My least favorite song, Diamonds, by Tchaikovsky, was all plucking, which means that we don't use our bows to play it. However, the cellos had a nice melody The final piece we played was Hopak from "The Fair at Sorochinsk".  It was a nice way to end our concert, as it was a very light and fast piece.

    My mom recorded all the pieces we played. Even though, it isn't the best recording, I hope you enjoy the concert.  

    Which piece was your favorite?

    Saturday, January 25, 2014

    My Special Rug

    My sister Miriam put together a rug, and when she finished and made it into a pillow, I ended up really wanting to make one myself.  My mother and I went to Michaels, which  is a special store that sells crafts, and I picked out a picture of a horse.  We also bought a blue latch hook which is used to attach the pieces of yarn to the canvas. Inside the kit there are four rolls of yarn, a canvas, and a color key. The color key tells you what color yarn to to use. The color key contains a symbol which stands for a specific color. For example, when I see a circle, that means I need to use light gold yarn, and when I see a triangle, then I use green yarn.

    The colors needed to complete the picture are different shades of white, gold, brown, blue, and green.To make the rug, I used the hook to put a piece of yarn through a hole in the canvas. Then I wrapped the yarn yarn around the hook and pulled it through.I repeated these steps over and over again until the rug was finished and I had a picture of a horse. Once the rug was completed,  I went over to my grandmother's house and she taught me how to sew it together into a pillow. That night, I slept with my nice and fuzzy pillow.


    The start of my rug,  latch hook, and the picture of what the rug was supposed to end up looking like.

    All the materials

    Good night!

    What kind of crafts do you like to make?

    Tuesday, December 24, 2013

    My Birthday Party

    Recently, I celebrated my tenth birthday on November 8th. My cousins, and grandparents came to my house to wish me a happy birthday. We celebrated my birthday in the evening when I came home from gymnastics. I was really glad to see my grandparents holding a huge chocolate cake, my favorite. I quickly showered and put on my warm pajamas. When everyone arrived at our home, my grandmother pulled my ears 11 times, an extra time for good luck, and I blew out the candles.

    Getting my ears pulled

    The next day, I invited my friend over to go ice skating with my family. We all drove to the rink, and wore thick pants, and a warm sweatshirt and jacket, so if we fell, it wouldn't hurt as bad. When we entered the ice rink, I got the chills, as it was very cold. We all quickly got our skates on and went onto the slippery ice. We adapted to the slippery ice instantaneously, and were soon skating very fast and playing games like tag. We finished our adventure unscathed with no injuries.  After skating for about 4 hours, we went out for dinner with my aunt and uncle. 

    Here is a video of us skating on ice.

    Do you have any funny birthday traditions?

    Friday, December 6, 2013

    Bach Pieces

    Over the weekend, Hannah and I recorded 2 new piano pieces that we recently learned. We both played Bach. I played a piece called Invention in C major, and Hannah played Prelude in C minor. I worked very hard to learn all the right notes, playing parts loud and quiet, and learning the piece by memory. Many of Bach's pieces have two voices/melodies, the right hand has one melody, and the left hand has a different melody. When I play, I am supposed to show both melodies. Bach wrote these Inventions, as exercises for his students to play with no mistakes. He wrote one invention for each scale. The first one was for C major, then C minor, and so on  for all the scales. I played the first invention in C major. My sister Hannah's prelude was one of 6 short preludes that Bach wrote also for his students as exercises. They were never meant to be performed, but since they are beautiful we decided to record both of them.

    My name is Hannah, and I am doing a guest post on Sarah's blog. This weekend, I learned a new piece. It was a lot of work to learn it by memory. I had to practice this piece many times.  The piece is two pages long. I played it so many times but I just could not remember this piece by memory. One day I practiced only the left hand and I realized that I almost had it by memory. When I tried to record it, I played it perfectly without notes. The piece is hard because the left hand has it's own melody and the right hand has its own melody.

    What did you think about these pieces? 
    Should they be played only as exercises or performed as concert pieces?