Dumpling has been learning the Violin for more than 2 years. Learning this instrument has brought out both the good and the bad in us. :p I personally find the violin a hard instrument. Unlike a piano / organ that rarely goes out of tune and the notes are as what you play on the keyboard, for a string instrument, it is so much more technical and even by moving slightly, a different note is played.
Learning an instrument to me, may not be the same thing as appreciating music. I ,sometimes, find the daily practice a tad too routine and as it leads up to exam days, it can get very dry. So I have always been quite conscious of introducing Dumpling to a range of musical exposure – from attending the Children’s Carnival by SSO to watching musicals and to listening to various genres of music in our car.
What I also wanted to do very much was to also expose Dumpling to camps and acquire a wider exposure to music. So we were really happy and excited when she got to attend a 2-day Camp at Aureus Academy: Aureus Spring Camp.
Aureus Academy specializes in 1-to-1 classes and is started up by 2 brothers. I had the opportunity to understand more about its approach in a recent interview.
The 2-day camp is the first public camp by Aureus Academy; the previous camps were only offered to its existing students.
The Spring Camp is designed to introduce and exposure children to a musical knowledge, not limited to their existing instruments (if applicable).
For the 2-day camp Dumpling attended, on a daily basis, the rough structure of the programme is as below:
- Ice breaker games
- Instrument Exploration / An Instrument a Day / Musical Masterworks
- Studio time
- Performance / Concert
The ice breaker games were really fun for the children and all the games played were related to music. It was a great way for the children to warm up. Based on my understanding, the children were pre-grouped to age and if they have any prior musical experience for a better fit of class dynamics.
(Above: "passing the parcel" game where the children learn something about music eg: fun fact about the
orchestra or experience something that is written on the card that they draw - eg: blowing the trumpet)
The Instrument Exploration was something which I feel was fun for kids as they got a chance to try out various instruments. Dumpling had the chance to have a go on the trumpet as well as the piano.
Other instruments available during the Spring Camp included the guitar, flute, piano and the violin.
The children were also introduced to different works by famous masters and the pieces. Dumpling was introduced to was Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 while on another day, the children explored Peter and the Wolf, by Sergei Prokofiev.
In the latter, the teachers introduced the various instruments and its sounds to them and explained how different instruments take on a different 'persona' where they represent a different animal.
Children also had the opportunity to be split into various groups for private studio time.
This means that for children who are learning an instrument, they will then move on to a studio to have 1:1 time with the teacher that is teaching that instrument.
(Pic above: teacher leading children through their pieces during Piano Studio time. Each child gets a 1-1 time with the respective teacher.)
Additionally, for those who are learning an instrument, they had the chance to practise some pieces for a recital at the end of the day.
Now, for others without the experience, the children will be grouped and would for eg be exposed to rhythm and beats using percussions (photo below).
From a parental standpoint, as an introduction for children to music, I like that there's many layers of musical elements being introduced. The children did not just had the chance to work on their own instruments for the end-of-day recital but also had the chance to learn about note values and even singing.
From warm up games to trying out the various instruments, it gave the children a chance to understand the different facets of music and that it is so much more than perhaps learning to perfect a song on their instruments.
I like that the games also teach team work - different children has different parts where all elements come together to form a tune / a musical show. (Clip is taken during the 'rehearsal'. As I was trying not to draw too much attention so as not to disturb the class, the clip is a tad 'dark' due to where I was standing)
During dumpling's studio time, there was no rush and I like that the teacher did not just zoom into the prep work for the performance piece but she checked and corrected the basics such her posture which is an important aspect in playing the violin.
For Dumpling, she enjoyed learning about the various popular works as well as the chance to try her hand at the trumpet. Being the performance bug that she is, she also enjoyed the end-of-day recital. I like this element too as the recital gave children a chance to build up their confidence as well as to have a platform to perform.
What I would like more of is for Aureus Academy to have a Masterclass which caters to the various instruments where it further adds more understanding and depth of the instruments and the pieces the children are learning. The technical bit are delved further into, pieces are explained and explored further which leads to a longer studio time.
All in all, Dumpling enjoyed herself tremendously. Surprisingly she enjoyed the singing classes and exploring the famous masterworksz We will definitely be keen to try out the next camp with the addition of Masterclass!
Interested to know more about Aureus Academy and its unique approach?
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That's not all! Aureus Academy is running its Summer Camp in 2 weeks too!
QUOTE BEANIE N US AND RECEIVE A ONE-TIME 20% DISCOUNT OFF THE CAMP! Call Aureus Academy (Rochester Mall) at 6235 6488 to register!