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Our Method Behind the Madness!

As the school year winds to a close, many families' schedules become flooded with end-of-year recital performances, and in this regard, our VYCo families are no different.

Our incredible students recently had their Spring Recital at the close of May, and we're excited to share our video of these young musicians' curated performances. In preparation, we love to introduce our newest members during our private lessons with a mischievous tradition we call "distraction rounds". Inspired by an article from Barnard College about "Reacting to the Past" (RTTP) as an educational tool to help students more deeply visualize history through play-pretend acting games, here, the teacher recreates various distracting challenges as the students perform, challenging them to persist through the music, and not be thrown off-course by either the chaos, or the irresistible giggles that always follow.

Of course, nearly every classical music concert or performers' recital is accompanied with some sparse coughing, papers rustling, phone beeps and murmured whispers. What students may not expect, however, are toddler wails (from beloved younger siblings), loudly humming HVAC vents, breezes that blow music pages closed, blaring outdoor sirens, or in this case, a brief power outage where all the lights went out! It is therefore critical for private lesson teachers to mentally prepare their students before taking the spotlight of just how intrusive a surrounding environment can be, despite best intentions - and train them to resist the urge to succumb to the challenge and complain of the unfairness of the situation (no matter how fair!).

Although the lesson experience of an adult teacher shrieking like a baby, pounding metal tools on a desk, turning off light switches, and fanning the air so that hair flies in the students' faces and obstructs their vision is jarring and seemingly over-the-top, these worst-case scenarios then prepare students for pretty much anything. As one VYCo student admitted last month, "Ms. Celia, I used to think you were just being silly when you did distraction rounds, but today when the lights went out, I realized you were right - you weren't exaggerating at all!". With these memorable lessons in place, we believe our students can universally apply these new powers even beyond future concert halls, and into wherever their lives takes them.

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