We’ve had a lot of advice and impersonal posts lately, so I thought I’d do one final post this week that was much more personal.
Elanor has started learning violin. She first said to me that she wanted to learn to play over a year ago, when she saw Elmo playing the violin on Sesame Street. I checked with several music schools and the youngest students were accepted for suzuki violin (a style of learning that focuses more on learning by ear than reading music–a better approach at this age, given that E doesn’t read words yet, much less music) was three. Obviously, I was due around her third birthday, and classes were winding up for the year, so we delayed starting classes until February of this year.
However, Ellie had her first up close and personal experience with a violin at Dawn’s home when we were back in Boston this past January. Dawn has been playing almost her whole life and is an amazing violinist.
Dawn also had a child-sized violin, which she took out and showed E and F before letting them try it out.
Elanor was thrilled when Dawn let her try the violin out. I didn’t catch her smile on camera, but she gave Ravi and I this huge enthusiastic smile that showed how excited she was more than any description I could give you. Since then, she talked non-stop about learning violin and how she was going to get a violin, and how Miss Dawn could teach her everything about violin.
Elanor was thrilled when last week we FINALLY (in her eyes) got to get her violin and go to class together. Yes, together. In the Suzuki method, the parent learns along with the child and practices along with the child. I figured it probably doesn’t hurt that violin gives Ellie and I something special together that she doesn’t have to share with her sister. It also gives Ravi and Rhiannon some time every week to chill out and bond without Ellie and I there to distract.
Getting a violin that’s Ellie sized required us to get the smallest one…a 1/32nd violin. For comparison, these are our violins, side by side.
Right now, violin practice means standing in rest position and play position, and holding the violin at our sides correctly. We also listen to our Suzuki cd in the car, which Ellie calls her “special violin cd.” She’s eager to get the bow and get moving.
Her class is 5 students and a parent with each student (4 moms and a dad in our case). Right now her attention begins to waver mid-class because it’s a lot of listening and sitting still–things Ellie needs to work on (yet another reason we’re pro violin lessons–learning discipline), and no actual playing yet. But as I have told her, we need to learn each step, and then we’ll be able to play as well as Miss Dawn if we practice every day for a long time.
Ellie wants to know that if she learns to play as well as Miss Dawn if she can have a pink violin. My response is that I would hope that by the point where we’d consider buying E anything but a student violin, she’d be over wanting a pink one. Sigh.
Ellie takes lessons at Mandeville Music. So far, I’m very happy with the teacher we have and her patience for the little ones.