February 22nd, 2019

Happy spring, everyone! Although it’s still quite cold (keeping the violins in tune has been quite the adventure this winter) and there is still lots of snow on the ground, I am loving all the daylight we are gaining and getting to enjoy during lessons. It’s reminding me how quickly the semester is going by and how excited I am for things to come. (Like Booth Baby #2!) As we approach Spring Break (no lessons March 11th– 16th), I will be focusing more on recital repertoire and making arrangements to make our May 4thSpring Recital a really fun way to end the semester and begin my maternity leave for most of the summer.

We still have a couple of monthly jam sessions left this semester, so if you haven’t had a chance to come to one, please mark March 2ndand April 6thdown for a really fun way to “practice” ;) All levels are invited, and parents and siblings who play instruments too are encouraged to jam along with us too! We usually sing and play tunes out of Brian Wicklund’s American Fiddle Method books for about an hour or so and then have a potluck-style dinner. On March 2nd, the family of Margo DuFort Vanderburg will host our March jam session at their home. After a little mix-up with my sign-up sheet, it turns out I still need a family to host for the April 2nd jam, so if you have the space and would like to sign up, please let me know!

In addition to the recital at the end of the semester, I am also planning to do another Bunny Party and also a party for the students who have completed their 100 day practice challenge. (It’s looking like there will be a lot of you this semester, which is really awesome!) The Bunny Party is already planned for April 22ndduring our normal group class time and is open to all students who are practicing songs out of the Bunny Ballads Books. I don’t have a date set for the 100 day practice challenge party, but I’m thinking I might try to plan something the week after the recital since there is no lessons. (Maybe an ice cream party at the Roll In Ice Creamery?) Stay tuned!

I’ve been getting lots of questions about the summer schedule and what the plan is for starting up again after the new baby arrives… and the truth is that the plan is ever evolving. There are a lot of things that will be changing in my life this summer as we hope to move into a bigger house and figure out how to balance life with a toddler and a newborn. As of now, the plan is to move sometime in May before baby comes, then take the rest of June and July off from teaching. Depending on how things are going, I am hoping to do an intensive in August for students that want to do the State Fair again and then start up the fall semester a little bit on the late-side (maybe the 2nd or 3rdweek of September?) Then again… these are all pretty big changes and a lot will need to happen before then. I will try to keep everyone up to date as things happen :)

One thing I’m hoping all of my students will do over the summer (besides keep practicing every day, of course!) is get signed up for at least one music camp! After checking out all of the websites, it looks like the local Anchorage Suzuki Institute is the only camp that has registration up and going. (This is also the only camp for my students ages 5 and under…) The Alaska Folk Arts Camp, Bluegrass Camps for Kids, and the Alaska String Camps have their dates set, but don’t have registration open yet. The other thing you can do over the summer is see if you can get a few lessons in with another teacher. Anchorage has quite a few wonderful Suzuki and fiddle teachers. It’s always great to get a fresh perspective on what you’re learning and even better if you can come away at the end of the summer with a new song or two! Finally, for those of you who are traveling for most of the summer… I would LOVE it if you could squeeze in a Suzuki lesson or go to a Suzuki camp whereever you are traveling to. I have had students who went to lessons and/or camps in Costa Rica, Spain, and Kenya so the options are essentially limitless!

THE BOTTOM LINE - Taking the entire summer off from lessons is NOT an option! (Even if you continue to practice!) Last year I was felt so helpless when parents came to me telling their kids had lost their love for violin because they didn’t play for most of the summer. There are so many wonderful options out there for EVERYONE, so please take the time now to make the arrangements needed to fit violin into your summer plans. Your child will thank you!

I think this is all to report for now. As always, please let me know if you have any questions. Happy Fiddling!


Amanda Kerr

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