There have been a lot of adjustments that we have all had to make with this move to Southlake and unfortunately many of them have had to be made by Julianne. One of the big ones has involved band. In New Canaan, Julianne began to play the flute in the 5th grade. She really enjoyed playing. They had 2 concerts the first year. They had 2 concerts in 6th grade. (those are links to the 2 concerts). The improvement was amazing between each of these concerts. By and large she practiced at home, played at school, learned a lot and had a few concerts.
Then we moved to Southlake.
First, she had to audition, privately with the three band teachers. She had to sightread a piece. She had to play 3 pieces she had done before. She had to do scales and arpeggios (which she was sightreading). In Southlake the kids start band in the 6th grade- so Julianne had had an entire year of experience more than the kids here. And then she was placed. The band teacher said that she was right on the border of the beginning band and the symphonic band (the middle band) and no where near the wind ensemble (the highest level). He recommended that she go with the symphonic band and then supplement with private lessons until she got up to par. He went on to "lecture" about how band is so important and so competitive here and they take things very serious but also have a lot of fun.
And then there is chair placement. Every week there are chair tests and the musical chairs of who is better than who starts. She started at last chair (13th).
And then there is smartmusic. Instead of doing practice logs the kids have to actually submit their practice music online. Kind of like guitar hero, but for real musicians. The teachers assign a piece and select the tempo and the kids log in, wear a special microphone, and they play the song. They get instant feedback as to their accuracy, dynamics, and tempo. It is really very cool. It can really feel like high pressure.
I cannot state how many hours she has put in to get "up to speed." It is a lot. She has done private lessons, and hours with the smart music. I have done hours of counting and tapping and helping and supporting and listening and more when it comes to flute.
Today was a monumental day though. She sat down and got 97% on both of her smart music assignments the first time through. I think she has caught up. I think we are no longer drowning in flute. We are comfortably swimming along.
And she is 6th chair. We are comfortably in the middle of the pack in the middle level band. She is back to enjoying it and I no longer think Thursday nights are from hell. (because smart music assignments are due on Friday).
They had a concert this last week. All I have to say is, "Wow" This is the middle level band??? I think they did awesome. She has improved several years worth in 9 weeks. I am proud of all that she has done and accomplished.