Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Anatomy Week: violin lesson

I want to begin by saying this is how our early lessons go - of course with every child and every stage it changes dramatically.  We'll discuss practice for an older child later.

Me:  Which should we have first, violin or piano time?

WonderGirl: Violin!

Me, internally: wooohoooo!!!

We sit down in the middle of the living room floor on her red mat, I put her 5 pieces of candy/fruit snacks/pretzels off to the side.  We get the violin out togehter, I put the shoulder pad on and she gets the bow out and rosins it.

we say together as we bow.  This is something one of my violin teachers would do with me when I was young, and it signaled the beginning of our lesson.  It is used to give us both a formal transition into our time together, past the informal chit chat we'd had as I entered the studio. It means "good afternoon" in Japanese, but you can pick any phrase you'd like. We also practice bowing - the kind of bow a good violin student makes :)

1.  Bow time.  We start out making llama shapes with our fingers to practice the shape they'll make holding a bow - sometimes she gets me to make us a story about our llamas and we act it out together.  Sometimes I make her wait until the end of a lesson for a llama story.  Then we hold an actual bow and do all the typical games and exercises. 

kissing her "llama"

2.  Violin time.  She stands up - I get on my knees so I'm at eye level - and we get our feet into position.  She takes the violin from rest position to her chin over and over, and we make a game of it.  Currently, she loves to pretend she's a robot putting the violin up.  We sing some songs and do some dances with her violin under her chin to pas the time while she's practicing having it up there.  I'll play the bow on the strings for her sometimes, or she'll pluck the strings I call out.  It's mostly just activities to distract her while she's getting her "violin muscles."

Doing a dance without dropping the violin - woohoo!

3. Together time!  She plays the bow on the strings!  I control this time carefully, dancing the line between her getting to play and experience the sound - and concentrating on her bow arm technique (and that darn shoulder).  We play a few games, a few rhythms and basic songs all on open strings.  She's just moved to using her left hand, but we don't do it for very long.  I mostly want her to get really strong technique on the bow and violin holding before we jump ahead with actual playing of the instrument.  Together time is very short - maybe two minutes or so.  I want it to be a novel thing she looks forward to and isn't too frustrated or sick of it.

4. Domo arigato.  We bow formally and say "Domo arigato" to each other - which means "thank you" in Japanese.  This is for the same reason we say "Konnichiwa" at the beginning of the lesson, and it signals the official end of the lesson and start of us being mother-child again instead of violin teacher-violin student.

All in all, a lesson is rarely longer than 10 minutes.  The patience it takes to play the violin is not natural for a child, so I revel in the luxury of being able to have many mini-lessons with her as we build all that up.  We didn't start out by doing this much - we started just by having a mini lesson practicing bowing and listening without racing all over the room, then adding on to it.  

It's such a wonderful bonding experience!  I don't plan on her choosing to be a professional violinist someday, but I use the violin as a tool to teach patience, hard work, and to have something wonderful to enjoy.  


Daddy said...

Llama Rock!! WHOO!!! YEAH!!!

Jane said...

What is up with the llamas in everything these days? I have heard more llama references in the last week than previously in my life put together.

Jane said...

Cute pictures BTW.

Anonymous said...

hey owner discovered your blog via yahoo but it was hard to find and I see you could have more visitors because there are not so many comments yet. I have found website which offer to dramatically increase traffic to your site they claim they managed to get close to 4000 visitors/day using their services you could also get lot more targeted traffic from search engines as you have now. I used their services and got significantly more visitors to my blog. Hope this helps :) They offer most cost effective services to increase website traffic at this website
To your success James

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...