Since she started with the GMS orchestra, Bianca spends more time at orchestra and music lessons on Saturday than she does in a normal day of school. We're up earlier (and after a week of work, I could use a day to sleep in) than a regular school/work day. But Bianca loves it. She loves being in a place where the other kids are as intense (most probably even more) than she is about music. She doesn't complain, but I know her arms (and head) are tired by the end of her Saturdays. Her orchestra had their fall concert at the end of November and although I knew they were an awesome orchestra, watching her with them makes me so proud that she's a part of this.
I've adopted a theory about music that goes like this: Heavenly Father has allowed us to nurture our talents and our "tithing" back is to play and bring the spirit to sacrament meetings. Bianca learned and played Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring on viola in sacrament meeting in December. I don't understand how she can practice pretty well at home, then stand up there in front of all those people and play without missing a note. Her tone is beautiful and she's really progressing so much every week. She's upped her practicing to two sessions of about an hour each day. This isn't something I make her do, but she wants to do it.
Portia was asked to play her cello for the primary program in October and played "My Heavenly Father Loves Me." She still takes lessons with Richard Hoyt and just completed Suzuki Book Two. Richard told her that after she completes book three, then she'll be a real cellist. She's looking forward to that day. We break up her practices into two sessions (this is because she frankly doesn't have the attention span she needs for the amount of practice she needs to do). I do new Suzuki pieces with her before school/work, and Eric has taken over scales, arpeggios, note-reading, and Suzuki review after school. She's recently started vibrato. I was surprised that she can pretty much play any song you ask her to (I had assumed this was a talent only Bianca had). Maybe it's more of a string-instrument thing. Not sure.
We have had a little difficulty with Portia's note-reading recently. I had reservations with this whole Suzuki method from the beginning for this very reason, but hopefully it will still come. I got frustrated the other morning when Portia wasn't "reading" the music (Suzuki Book 3 conveniently has left out all the fingerings—thank goodness!—so now she can't rely on that) so I told Portia I expected an essay from her when I returned from work on why she needs to learn to read notes. It was sort of cute though; she had titled it S.A. Hahaha! Hopefully she'll now realize the why to the note-reading. She is so cute it's kind of hard to discipline her.
Funny story for anyone who appreciates and knows music: One night at dinner, Eric was telling me that Portia was FINALLY getting the triplets in the I Can Read Music rhythms. After dinner, Portia came up, pointed at the section of my closet where I keep things (and I had a group of 3 Littlest Pet Shop cats—which Portia had called the triplets—stashed up there when it bought them on sale and was going to give it to her for Christmas). She stated, "Dad said I could have the triplets!" It took a couple back-and-forths and a couple conferences to figure out that Portia had misunderstood when Eric had said she "was finally getting the triplets" in her music. Here's Portia with the Pet Shop triplets she actually got for Christmas: