Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tuesday Tunes: A Feeling

Meanderings, Adventures, & Crafty Inspirations

This afternoon needs to be explained so as to understand this Tuesday's tune. After spending the afternoon making spritz cookies I headed over to a house where my improvisation and functional harmony workshop teacher was practicing. He was going to give me the certificates that he had for us but he only had a small window of time to come down and give them to me. I got there 2 minutes after he said he would be there and I waited and waited. I couldn't ring the doorbell because they were recording and I couldn't reach him on his phone because it was an Argentine number. I was frustrated needless to say. I had just spent 7 soles on a taxi busting my butt to get over there. That's on me though right? I decided to take the bus home and on my way I got off and bought some Mexican food from a place in Miraflores called Orale mi Cuate. I bought morena's which have meat cheese and pineapple wrapped in two corn torillas. Mmmm Mexican food. That made me feel a bit better.

Then, what really made my night was a charango and pan pipe serenade by a young man who hopped on the back of the bus. He played two songs and one of them was this fine tune that is very well known in Peru. It is called "Condor Pasa" and was composed by Daniel Alomia Robles. It is practically the anthem of the Peruvian andes and every Peruvian I know will recognize it immediately. It brought a smile to my face and I gave him a tip. I love that about Peru. While some people are quite annoying with their pitches and what they are selling, sometimes some really great musicians get on the bus and sing and play their heart out for you. I support all of them that do that. Music is what brings us back to our natural vibration as humans. There can never be enough of it. The feeling that it gives me is contentedness and happiness. And now with no further ado, "Condor Pasa" as played by a different young Peruvian man with his zampoña and charango.

Monday, January 27, 2014

24 Things Challenge completed

So here is the final update of the 24 Things Challenge. I think I did pretty well. I had to make some purchases but they were worth it.
7th: dog leash 
8th: pair of old shoes 
9th: old alpaca sweater 
10th: cloth bag that I never use 
11th: Some English worksheets that I don't need 
12th: rice cooker 
13th: underwear and a bra that doesn't fit 
14th: a book that I had for my friend 
15th: A book that I just finished called Taft by Ann Pratchett 
16th: a chin rest 
17th: a ton of files on my computer 
18th: hole filled socks 
19th: recycling bag that was filled 
20th: more computer files 
21st: another pair of shoes 
22nd: a few DVDs that were really bad and I don't want to watch again 
23rd: a butter holder 
24th: an old dog toy that Pepe never plays with
Things I bought: hush puppy shoes, a camelbak for Marco, Jack Daniels, tape for violin lines, a few books for my Kindle, two sets of strings for my violin, peg lubricator

In other news, today I went to pick up my marriage license that was certified by RENIEC. They told me it would be ready at 8:30am but it wasn't ready until 11:30am. I have stopped letting little set backs like this bother me. I expect them so I always bring a book and I always block out at least the morning to do stuff like this. I took a walk around the centro and jironeé a bit (jironear is a Peruvian verb that is used when you are going to walk around the jirones - which is a name for a type of street - in the center of Lima). I read my book in a McDonalds and paid my electric bill. There were a bunch of people in the plaza de armas and big screen TVs were set up so people could watch the ruling about the maritime boundary between Chile and Peru. Peru won some water but it is 80 miles out. Neither country is happy with the decision but neither is super upset either. You can read about it in this ABC news article. After getting the license I headed to migraciones and dropped it off with the lady who attended me on Thursday. She said my card would be ready Thursday. Just in time for our flight to Cusco on Friday! In the afternoon I met up with a mother of a new violin student and we discussed classes and the Suzuki method. She teaches yoga which is fantastic because when my wonderful yoga teacher leaves this year I will have a replacement. Her daughter is a little over 3 years old and I can't wait to start lessons with her next week!

I am so pumped. We are headed to Cusco por fin! We didn't go at all in 2013 and since we were able to work this out (more like Marco was able to work out his work schedule and find some replacements) we are taking advantage! I might even sing with Claudio on Saturday night. I can't wait. Rain or shine, shortness of breath and all, Cusco here we come!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tuesday Tunes: A song of Inspiration

Meanderings, Adventures, & Crafty Inspirations

Today's Tuesday Tune is one of inspiration. I absolutely love the artist India Arie. I could listen to her music on repeat all day long and never get sick of her. I think it is because her music speaks to everyone and every day problems and thoughts. She has so many inspirational songs to choose from but this one is particularly great. It is all about showing "Strength, Courage and Wisdom". That is hopefully what life gives us as we journey through it. I hope you like it! Look up and India Arie songs and you are bound to get a good story/message. Enjoy!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Why Re-take a Pedagogy Course?

I received an email from the Suzuki Association of the Americas asking me to send in a little blurb about why I decided to take the Violin book 1 pedagogy course again. One of the reasons why teaching is fun and interesting is that there is always more to learn. You may know a topic very well but sometimes you forget something small or you want to learn a new way to teach the a topic that has become monotonous. The reason I took the book 1 course again is that I really wanted a refresher. After moving to a new city and only having a few students, I felt out of practice. I am going to have a violin workshop this year at the school where I will be teaching and I was looking for advice on how to go about organizing and directing it. I received a lot of wonderful advice from fellow teachers have taught in school settings and I gained more group class ideas. I also wanted to make sure that I am covering all the basics really well and there is nothing like re-taking a course to refresh and renew not only material but personal motivation. I am excited to get back to my students and apply all the things that I learned (and maybe forgot). I want to add to my review basket as Nancy calls it.

I would like to quote Nancy Lokken, my wonderful teacher trainer at the Lima Suzuki Festival 2014. "I have been teaching for many years and I still don't have the answer for everything. As long as you are open you will grow as a teacher." I completely agree and the only way to grow is by being open to new ideas, asking questions, sharing ideas and implementing them with our students. Even though the class may have been a bit too large (28 students I believe), I am so glad that I decided to re-take the course. It renewed my love of learning and my motivation to be better. I learned more about my own playing as well. It is said that the best way to solidify a skill is to teach it so off to teach those skills I go. 
With Nancy
I was chatting with a couple of friends who are at the National Music Conservatory in Lima and they both said that they would love to see some of their teachers take Suzuki pedagogy courses because then they might be a bit more open to new ideas and becoming better teachers themselves. I have no idea what the teachers are like at the conservatory but they way I see it, learning about different pedagogies will only help you solidify a method that works best for you and your students. Everyone learns differently and there is no one right way. One thing I know for sure is that I am very happy to be continuing on the ideas of a great teacher and musician, Dr. Shinichi Suzuki.
Cusco Reunion

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Tuesday Tunes

Meanderings, Adventures, & Crafty Inspirations
I am super tired because today was the first day of the week long violin pedagogy course at the Suzuki Festival but I would like to put up this week's tune and it is a throwback to my senior year of high school (2004-05). The song is called "New Slang" by The Shins and it was actually released in 2001 but it was made popular by the movie Garden State. I got super into the Shins after getting the sound track to the movie. Enjoy!

Monday, January 13, 2014

The 29th Annual International Suzuki Festival / 6th Reunion of Suzuki Teachers of Latin America

January is a pretty important month for Suzuki method music teachers in Latin America. That is because Peru's Suzuki Association hosts an international Suzuki Festival in January. It is the largest festival in Latin America and teachers can take pedagogy courses in violin, cello, guitar, piano, recorder, flute, and occasionally bass. There are also classes for Early Stimulation, Kodaly, teaching music in primary school, and teaching how to read music. While the festival is in large part for instrument teachers to continue their professional development and pedagogical requirements in order to be certified Suzuki teachers, it is also for Suzuki students to take part in master classes and meet other students from all over Latin America. They get to see really advanced students and they get the opportunity to learn from excellent Suzuki teacher trainers. Parents are encouraged to take the philosophy course and they are also present for the concerts and activities for their children. Also, every other year there is a Latin American Suzuki orchestra that is made up of Suzuki students and they play music from all of the countries represented. The students have to be at least in book 4 and audition to get into the orchestra.
This Saturday the 6th annual Suzuki teachers of Latin America meeting started. There were various talks including the opening speech made by Brian Lewis, a well known violinist and teacher in the States. He was wonderfully charismatic and had some great relaxation techniques to share. He shared anecdotes and why he really feels that what we do as music teachers does make the world a better place. He said that Suzuki thought that music would be what brings world peace. We are far from world peace but I believe in Suzuki's idea and that we are not just helping create musicians but good people. Music has the power to do amazing things and teach us how to be excellent people. Music is the universal language and no matter where you go in the world, there is not a single person that would not respond in some way to music. One of the great things about Suzuki as well is that wherever you go the repertoire is the same and because of that you can do play ins with everyone. There is going to be a meeting of teachers in Minneapolis in May and there will be students from Latin America traveling to play. They are planning on having a large play in that will be broadcast live on a webcast so everyone around the world can watch and play along. It is a great idea and I plan on tuning in myself!
The encuentro itself was a mix of panels of people presenting different topics such as using traditional music in addition to the Suzuki repertoire or an introduction to the Kodaly method. We discussed the issues the the Suzuki Association of the Americas has and what we, as teachers from all over Latin America, can do to help solve some of the problems. Teachers from different countries also presented what they are doing in their respective countries. It was very interesting.
Lydia Mills presented some Kodaly and how it could be used in conjunction with Suzuki methodology.

Luciana, Annika, Roberta, and Caroline: the coordinators of the festival

Marilyn O'Boyle directing the brainstorming session.

Something that I really love about the festival is how re-energizing it is. It is exactly what I need after a year of kind of falling off the band wagon a bit. I was more focused on figuring out what it is that I want to be doing with myself than I was on getting students or dedicating myself more to my violin. One of the issues I had was feeling isolated as a musician and as a violin teacher. I missed having Qantu to go to and people there to be my support system on a daily basis. I have realized this year that I don't have to feel bad that I am not at a super high level of playing ability or technical ability but if I am willing to work on it and continue to learn, there is no reason I can't teach others to the best of my ability. I will admit that this encuentro as that call it, is great because we are all coming together for the same purpose, spreading music to children. I love sharing ideas and gaining new ones. I am very excited to start the book one course again with Nancy Lokken. She is a fantastic teacher trainer and violin teacher. I took book 1 with her two years ago and I am taking it again to refresh my mind and pick the minds of my classmates as well. I am going to have a violin workshop this year and I would like to incorporate Suzuki pedagogy in it. I hope everyone has a wonderful and productive week.
Ximena and me a bit tired and warm but happy!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Tuesday Tunes

I promise I have some creative ideas of my own that have yet to come out but here is another fun one that was put out there by Lisa. Tuesday Tunes is a great idea and while I may roll with it this month, we will see how it evolves. She made it a link up which I assume means there will be others that link their pages. I have never done one before so bear with me. I will see if I get it all right. Here is the order:

So in honor of today being a new song or discovery, I give you Karmin's "I Want it All". This group rose to fame on YouTube and eventually got a recording deal after posting a cover of Chris Brown's featuring Lil Wayne "Look at Me Now" which has a pretty insane rap. I have known about Karmin for a while but the song is a new discovery because I haven't been keeping up with them. I am not ashamed to say I like pop music. I appreciate all sorts of music and there is a time and place for it all. This song has a great beat and is sure to make you want to dance!


Meanderings, Adventures, & Crafty Inspirations

Monday, January 6, 2014

A Challenge

I am partaking in a fun challenge called 24 Things. I found it via my friend Lisa's blog and I think it is a great idea. Basically you just have to get rid of something every day. It can be physical or it can be mental. Also, you have to abstain from making any unnecessary purchases as well. For me that will mean no random coffees from Bisetti until after the 24th. 
By getting rid of things that we don't use, need or want, we free ourselves for the entry of other things and most of all tranquility and peace of mind. So here is what I have gotten rid of so far:
Jan. 1st: My 2013 planner 
Jan. 2nd: A bath mat that has been in our laundry room for a while. We have tried cleaning it a few times and failed. Good-bye mat. 
Jan. 3rd: A pair of old shoes 
Jan. 4th: Laziness 
Jan. 5th: An old towel 
Today: An aluminum water bottle
My husband decided to get rid of things as well. He isn't doing the challenge but he has already set aside at least 10 articles of clothing to donate and he dumped a ton of files from his course this past year. He said it felt great and I have to agree with him. It makes me very happy that we will never have to worry about being weighed down by things in our place.
I think I am going to have to get rid of some mental things as well. Laziness is a good start. I know that being on vacation warrants some laziness but I have had plenty of time to laze around. I am ready to be productive and gets some things done this summer. I am going to take part in the Suzuki Festival this year by taking the book 1 course again. I need a refresher and I would love to have some time to chat with other teachers about teaching violin in a school setting which is what I will be doing this year. I also plan on making a yearbook for my senior year of college. I started doing it using blurb.com before I left for Peru but then I never got around to finishing it and publishing it. I have a coffee table book for every year of college and it is a really great way to have all my photos in a physical form. I will then take photos off of facebook. It is not that they are incriminating but I think that photos have a shelf life and after 4 years it is unlikely that people are looking regularly at the photos I put up from college. I will leave a few for old times sake.
I have received a bunch of photos via email that my dad scanned from his old slides and it has made me think about how photos have evolved over the years and with the introduction of the digital camera. Before, you had to think about the picture you were going to take and hope that it would turn out the way you wanted it to. This year the world selfie was coined as one of the top new words added to the Webster's Dictionary. Who needs to worry about a bad angle of a photo you take by yourself of yourself when you can just delete it and try a thousand more times for the perfect shot. Haha. It's pretty funny actually because I trust myself to take a better selfie of Marco and me than I do some random stranger. I can't tell you how many times that stranger takes an un-centered picture. Instead of going to Osco and getting my camera film developed (doubles because I wanted to give them to friends too), I just hop on dropbox or facebook or whatever other platform and click a button to share. 
Instead of photographers being the image crafters and the artists behind the photos, everyone has become one and we are able to tweak and tint and put whatever sort of filter on so that we can have the perfect picture. I don't think it is a bad or a good thing. I just find it interesting to ponder the changes that we have seen over the past 15 years. I will admit that I like to take a nice photo and if I am not smiling or my eyes are shut I will take another one. However, sometimes it is fun to get those weird angle photos and the ones that weren't perfectly crafted. 
Something I love about the ease and simplicity of photo taking nowadays is that you can order super cool prints. My cousin has a printing company called Memento Press in San Francisco that specializes in unique printing ideas and memory book making. I knew that my mother wanted a nice picture from our wedding so I just sent a picture to my cousin and he printed it onto a metal base. It came out beautifully and now my mom has a great photo to hang on the wall. There is no denying that access to digital photos make present giving a breeze. Haha! I just re-read this paragraph and my cousin just got a really nice advertising spot for free! Too bad I only have about 3 dedicated followers. :)

Happy Monday everyone!
**Another challenge I plan on taking on this year is an entry every Monday. It is a resolution of sorts. There is plenty to write about even if what I have done the previous week is ordinary. So get ready for a more active and exciting Esto es Peru blog this year!**

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Celebrating the Arrival of 2014 on the Beach

 Happy New Year everyone! We had a great time on the Punta Negra beach this new year. Marco and I headed out early the morning of the 31st and set up camp on the beach. I love the fact that beaches are free in Peru. No one has to pay a cent. You do have to pay for parking though. We had tons of space and we set up our tent which would house us for the night. We had ceviche brought right to us and we had ice cream as well. We also rented a chair and a large umbrella for the day for 12 soles. There is no way any of what we did would fly in my hometown. You can't even eat on the beach I think. Everything that is illegal on Lake Michigan beaches, we did it at Punta Negra. Beer, food, camping, campfire, and fireworks. It was awesome! The only downside was that the bathrooms (that charge 50 cents every time you enter) closed at 8pm and the beach filled up with people and tents. It was craziness. 

The day was great and while I didn't spend much time in the sun I still got a bit of color. I also caught up on some beach reading and watched Marco take multiple dips in the ocean. I wasn't feeling good enough to actually go in. I did wade a bit though. I am definitely a mountain baby. I love to swim but I prefer watching the ocean as opposed to swimming in it.
The view from our tent.

New Years is all about parting but Marco and I didn't drink much. We brought a cooler of beer and only drank one beer each. I wasn't feeling to well and later Marco didn't feel all that great either so we decided it would be better to ring in the new year with Coca Cola. It ended up being a great choice and the following day we felt great (after taking a 4 hour nap after getting home of course). The same couldn't be said for some of Marco's buddies who partied 'til the sun came up.
Who needs to dress up when you are on the beach?

Three classmates of Marco's came out and joined us with their wives and kids. We had BBQ for dinner and we enjoyed the fireworks from every angle. It is super dangerous but it is definitely exciting. We tried making a fire but it ended up smoking more than anything. I played with the kids a bit and at midnight we watched the craziness of fireworks being set off all around us. It was quite the experience but both Marco and I agree that next year we plan on ringing in the new year in Chosica at the army's club.

Fireworks looking towards Punta Hermosa Beach