Tuesday, November 11, 2003

More and more

The more I write, the more I realize there is to write. Yesterday Noah was noodling around on the piano while Sophie was noodling on her violin in the other part of the house. Noah started playing the horn solo melody from the end of Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite, a haunting theme he’s played many times on piano. It’s on the Naxos Jr. Audiobook version of the Illiad that we have, just a few seconds of it, and he loves it. Anyway, he happened to be playing it in the key of A. All of a sudden I heard Sophie trying to sound it out on the violin, and she managed just great. So Noah ran off and got his violin and the two of them played the four-bar theme together over and over, wandering around the living room giggling. Then Noah went back to the piano and started trying to harmonize an accompaniment.

Noah’s harmonizing ability is quite impressive. After only 6 spotty months of piano lessons, he’s able to harmonize simple melodies from the Suzuki violin repertoire in A major. He does other tunes too... Christmas carols, nursery songs. He uses tonic triads and dominant seventh chords very capably in a number of keys. No one has taught him to do this, though he has learned the I-V7-I chord progression by working through the Dozen-a-Day technique exercises. Subdominant triads and their inversions are a bit more hit and miss, but I’m sure they’ll click in the next month or so.

Tonight we finished reading "Abel’s Island" by William Steig. What a great story! One of those that's definitely as much for the parent as the children. We still have on the go: "A Single Shard" and "Eragon".

Erin finally finished the last couple of incomplete bits in Singapore Math 5A today. She’s been dabbling in 5B and level 6 stuff a bit for a while, but now she’s enthusiastic about starting to go through 5B systematically and filling in any holes there too.

Sophie helped bake muffins today. She made some neat observations about the array of 3x4 muffin cups. Her math abilities impress me... not so much her conceptual awareness, but how willing and capable she is when it comes to translating observations about mathematical patterns in the real world into arithmetical symbols. She continues plugging mostly self-directedly through the first Miquon Math book. She’s into multiplication now.

Noah is definitely less of a "wow!" kid in academic areas. He has tons of conceptual mathematical smarts, especially of the visual-spatial sort, but he’s actually finding the end of Miquon Red reasonably challenging. A year or two ago I thought he’d be done the program by now (six books; he’s only on the second). But things are clicking like crazy for him in other areas right now, so that’s fine. His violin sight-reading is going great guns, and of course I’ve written at length about his phenomenal piano composing and the leaps he’s taken in his playing ability in the last couple of months.

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