Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Violin Music and Suzuki Teachers

We rented “Music of the Heart” -- a movie about a Suzuki violin teacher, and I would recommend it for all violin students. Meryl Streep stars in this 1999 true story about a part-time music teacher in Harlem who dreams of making a difference. I highly recommend the finale – a concert featuring Marc O’Connor playing "Orange Blossom Special" with all the extras!! plus Joshua Bell, Gloria Estefan, and other famous music artists also make cameo appearances. For younger children, I might suggest fast-forwarding through the single-mom drama parts. But don't miss any of the violin playing/practising to see if you can recognize all the Book 1 songs! That was our favorite part. Plus Roberta Guaspari was not exactly sweet-natured when talking to her Suzuki students! Still a lovely music lesson for the whole family.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

"In this House of Brede"

Here's a convent movie with a happy ending! "In this House of Brede" by Rumer Godden is a fictional tale of a late-in-life vocation that was shown on the Hallmark Hall of Fame. I thought it was sensitive in every way and compelling in its realistic portrayal of convent life. A worldly London business-woman hopes to "escape" by becoming a Benedictine nun. But she finds jealousy, past hurts, affection, and pride are part of everyone's life. She gently conforms to the rule first out of obedience, then out of genuine love. There are important lessons about friendships, because community life challenges them to love all sisters equally.
The scenery is beautiful, and the movie was filmed on location at genuine convents in London and Ireland (with some limitations of television technology in 1975). Film is good for all ages. I recommend the book, of course, because the movie doesn't exactly follow the book nor have its depth (for older students).