My middle school orchestra and I have been following the Menuhin competition closely. The competition has been inspiring to many of my students. We picked a favorite, and although that specific competitor did not make it to the finals, the kids were interested in who did. A room full of 7th graders were silent (a rare thing indeed) while watching Yesong Sophie Lee's finals performance.
While most of my students will not have the opportunities that the Menuhin competitors do, they find it encouraging to know what is possible at such a young age. I explain to them that the competitors all have private lessons, and usually start very young. Private lessons are hard to come by in rural Nevada, but many of my students practice what they can. They see competitions like this, and are inspired to reach for the same level of musicianship.
The competition came at a time when my top groups have been learning to be more musical. They had wonderful examples of varying musicality from the competition. They saw how bow distribution works in practice, and that there is more than one way to play a particular song. I can show them all day long, but seeing a peer do it drives the point home.
It is amazing that we live in such an age where students in Nevada can follow a competition in London. My students and I benefited from all the hard work that went into the Menuhin Competition, and we look forward to following future events and competitions.
Sometimes I can't believe that I get to be a music teacher.
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