Music Archives - Page 3 of 3 - Eva Varga

March 12, 2013

If a child can’t learn the way we teach,
maybe we should teach the way we learn.

~ Ignacio Estrada

I have been seeing this quote circulate amongst my friends and those I follow on social media quite frequently.  As I observed my children in music last week, I reflected upon the meaning of the words.  It has been fascinating to watch my children progress in their music education. Each approaches their lessons in dramatically different ways, staying true to their unique personalities.  We are fortunate to have a music teacher who is adept at teaching each of the kids according to their unique styles.

Sweetie is methodical and slowly works out each note and the proper fingering as she sight reads. When she first begins to learn a new song, it sounds nothing like what is written. Though the notes are generally correct, she lacks rhythm.  In addition to her daily practice, she is also required to listen to the accompanying CD to hear the piece correctly (she presently uses Suzuki Violin Book & CD Volume 1).  This helps her to work out the rhythm as she gets the fingering and bow position worked out.

On the other hand, Buddy learns a new piece more naturally. He can be shown how to play a section of a song and after just two or three attempts, have the rhythm worked out but will hit several wrong notes.  As he proceeds and the section can be played without error, another section will be added.  In learning this way, music theory is taught and patterns are prevalent.  Part of his daily practice is to continue to play pieces he has learned in the past.  Each piece is memorized so he requires no sheet music when he preforms.  In addition to his daily practice, his homework includes assignments from The Music Tree.

Buddy is passionate about music and practices with relish without necessary pleading from me.  I do, however, have to sit with him to ensure he completes the exercises in the Music Tree book.  Sweetie, on the other hand, needs more incentive to practice her violin.  It is more of a chore to her though she does insist that she likes it. As her skills have improved (she started violin only a year ago) and she has been able to play pieces that appeal to her, she has been more enthusiastic about playing.  They have both grown so much in their musical ability since we first began.  I enjoy listening to them when they play and hope they will continue to pursue music when they are an adult.

December 12, 20122

Earlier this year, the kids learned the first verse to a fun Norwegian song, “Sommer Kommer“.  Since then, the Barnesklubb kids have expressed interest in learning the other verses.  As winter is upon us – though it doesn’t feel that way here in Northern California where it was 81 degrees just two days ago – I thought it was a good time to followup.

Fortunately, I was able to find a video on YouTube so that I could assure our pronunciation was relatively accurate.  As you may know, I am learning Norwegian myself and I didn’t want to lead the kids astray. It’s a fun song and one I know we’ll return to again and again.


Sommer kommer, sommer kommer
sol og regn og latter og sang
sol og regn og latter ha ha ha
latter sol og sang


høsten kommer, høsten kommer
blader og skole og vind og genser
blader og skole og vind who ho ho
vind blader og genser


stormen kommer, stormen kommer
skyet og regn og torden og lyn
skyet og regn og torden (clap clap clap)
torden skyet og regn


vinter kommer, vinter kommer
is og snø og kakao og kaldt
is og snø og kakao brrr brrr brrr
kakao is og kaldt

January 30, 20121

As students of Mandarin, we celebrate Chinese or Lunar New Year.  The biggest event during Chinese New Year is the family dinner on the eve of the lunar new year.  The dinner consists of dumplings (represents wealth), fish (for abundance), and new year cake (for prosperity).  Children receive ‘red envelopes’ or (Hóngbāo 红包) with money inside as blessings.


Chinese New Year is a time when families and friends wear new clothes from head to toe (symbolizes a new beginning in the new year) and greet each other. Traditionally, people would set off firecrackers to scare off the mythical beast called Nian 年.

This year, the kids learned a song as well (sang to the tune of Ol’ My Darling). It was such a fun lesson. We had earlier learned to sing Silent Night in Mandarin and thereby we had that melody in our heads, causing us to goof up occasionally (hence his comment at the end of the video).


新年好呀, 新年好呀


我们唱歌, 我们跳舞


xīn nián hǎo ya
xīn nián hǎo ya,    xīn nián hǎo ya
zhù hè dà jiā xīn nián hǎo
wǒ men chàng gē,    wǒ men tiào wǔ
zhù hè dà jiā xīn nián hǎo

Happy New Year
Happy new year, happy new year
Wish you all a happy new year
We sing and we dance
Wish you all a happy new year

May 15, 2011

We awoke aboard the Hurtigruten and enjoyed a light meal that I had packed onboard.  We spent the morning enjoying the views from the observation deck and working on our journals.  Oddly, another passenger – an older gentlemen (a description I now am not certain applies to this man) – whom sat a few chairs from us stared at us the entire time (for hours!).  He would occasionally turn to his companion when he was addressed but he didn’t take part in conversation of any sort and even stranger, made no discernible facial expression.  I wanted to go up to him and inform him that he had it all wrong .. the attraction was beyond the window … not aboard the ship.  Please stop staring, sir!  I should have taken his picture, I now suppose.  Anyway …

In the early afternoon, we came into Bergen harbor.  Bergen was perhaps the most anticipated destination of our entire Scandinavian tour as it is here that we would be staying with family and meeting many relatives that we in fact had never met previously.  It took awhile to disembark as the crew insisted we in order of the level our cabins were located to alleviate confusion with our luggage.  We thereby were able to see Reidar (the one cousin we had in fact met a few years ago when he came to Oregon) from the observation deck as he waited on shore for us.

We were welcomed with a warm hug (he is much like a gregarious and jolly uncle) and our tour of Bergen was underway.  He first took us to Troldhaugen, the home of Nina and Edvard Grieg. Built in 1885, the couple lived there the last 22 summers of Edvard Grieg’s life.  In May of 1928, Troldhaugen became a museum.  After WWII, permanent employees were hired to manage and operate the museum which then consisted of the villa, the composer’s hut and the gravesite.  In 1985 the concert hall, Troldhalen, was inaugurated and in 1995 the museum building opened.  We enjoyed the permanent exhibit in the latter, purchased a CD of Grieg’s music and spent a little time exploring the grounds and original buildings.

We enjoyed seeing the photographs and gifts Grieg and his wife had received from friends and family.  Most notable was a painting of children playing that he and his wife had purchased after the death of their only child.  Proving he was a little boy at heart, Reidar reached out and played one brief note on Grieg’s piano, receiving a scowl from the interpreter leading us on the tour.  I was just glad it wasn’t my little one .. he later said, “I couldn’t resist. I was in his home. I needed to play even if just one note.”

From here we ventured to the Fløibanen Funicular, one of the most popular attractions in all of Norway.  Only 150m from the Bryggen wharf (which we had explored briefly beforehand), the ride to the top of Fløyen mountain (320m above sea level) takes only a few minutes.  The ride itself was spectacular and the views improved as we got closer to the top.  Unfortunately, it was raining while we were there but it certainly didn’t dampen our spirits.  Had we had more time, it would have been nice to take advantage of the vast number of hikes on the mountain.

Thereafter, we drove out to Frekhaug to meet Arvid, Reidar’s brother, for the first time and to enjoy dinner together. Arvid came out to greet us with big hugs and told the kids that it was tradition for children to run around his house three times before coming inside.  I joined in and the four of us were off on a giggly jog of the perimeter.  The kids loved it and forever they were smitten with one another.

Arvid prepared for us shrimp and a roast chicken. “Just in case you didn’t like shrimp, I needed something else,” he explained. “They aren’t traditionally served together.” Shrimp is a traditional Norwegian dish in the summertime.  Pre-boiled and served cold, you simply peel them one by one and eat them.  Following Reidar and Arvid’s example, we spread butter on a piece of white bread, laid out a few shrimp and then squeezed a little mayonaise (from a tube) and a twist of lemon on top.  I think this might be my favorite Norwegian dish .. simple and delicious.