03 May 2006

no viola jokes, please

Paul Silver, a violist with the Pittsburgh Symphony, has been visiting Oliver's school nearly every week since February. He spends about half an hour in the Infant Wing and parents are welcome to stay for the festivities. I haven't always been able to make it but I did make a point of being at the first and last sessions. Paul's last visit of the year was on Monday and I took note of how Oliver and the other children have changed since the visits began.

Some children hid in the backroom that first week. They could watch through the windows but be only as close as they were comfortable. Oliver was fearless, of course, and very curious. He wasn't the most outgoing, but he was interested and attentive. Each week the children became more comfortable with Paul, his viola and the music. There was dancing, peek-a-boo games with scarves and a few children who were willing to touch the viola. I wish I had a photo of the week when Oliver decided to sit on Paul's foot!

Paul brings a varied repertoire to the children, everything from Twinkle, Twinkle to classical pieces, from Take Me Out To the Ballgame to Ode to Joy. At least one other parent is a Red Sox fan and we try to make our voices heard at the appropriate point. He does a great job of mixing the familiar with the new and different. The week Paul played "Simple Gifts" was a real treat for me, since that was the piece our good friend Jenni sang at our wedding.

Since that first visit, Oliver learned to clap and most recently, to walk. He did lots of dancing at Paul's last visit, especially to an Irish jig (sorry, Mom). At home he frequently "rehearses" some of the things Paul does with the children. Baa baa ba-ba baa is a particular favorite. If you know anything about Kindermusik, you know what I'm talking about.

Paul Silver talks about his experiences with the children in this article. I'm already looking forward to next year when his visits resume.

1 comment:

Susie said...

Wow, that is so cool! I enjoyed reading about it from the musician's point of view, as well!

My son is 13 weeks old and I am hoping to find a music class around our area. Sounds like Oliver had a really great opportunity at school!