Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Suzuki Violin (The Saga)

 Luke has been preparing for his "end of the year" violin concert.  Some of his violin playing has been adorable...and some not.  When he first got his violin he wanted to take it everywhere and show (and tell) everyone about all of the parts of the violin.  He is 4.  Not everyone wants to hear about all of the parts of the violin from a 4 year old although it IS amusing at times!  We have had our fair share of frustrating days but I do believe that he has learned something.  Luke has learned a lot of things in fact, considering he is 4 and he has only had a violin in his possession for 2 months!

He started his lessons in January.  You might think that I am crazy doing this with him with 4 week old Bevin tagging along?  I would agree, but I HAD to follow through with a commitment that I had started back in September.  You see, the whole premise of the Suzuki Method is that is that all people are capable of learning from their environment.  Which means that in order to learn the violin, it must be a part of our normal environment.  (Which it has not been.  Neither I or my husband have played the violin or currently play any musical instrument regularly for that matter)  So I learned how to play the violin first!  I was scared and when I found out that in order FOR ME to graduate I had to learn to play 6 variations of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" on a full sized violin.  Who?  Big 'ole pregnant me?  Yes.  And I did it!  In fact, I finished my class and played my "recital" a little over a week before giving birth.  I was large and I KNOW I looked ridiculous but I did it and now I can play the violin.  It was way easier than I imagined and I learned the same way that Luke is now learning.

 So 2 times a week Luke has violin lessons.  Early in the week he meets in a Beginner Theory class with two other little girls his age and after that he has group lesson.  I participate in the group lesson with him.  All the moms do.  We play games and learn about the violin in a group setting.  Then later in the week he has a private lesson for 15 minutes!  It is not long but he is 4 and his attention span is quite limited so 15 minutes is the perfect amount of time.  Actually sometimes it is too long and other times too short.  Maybe a week after getting his violin he had his first "Play-in" which is a concert in the sanctuary with all of the big kids.  A big part of the Suzuki Method is about performance presentation and performing in a group.  He has discovered that he really likes to perform on stage with the big kids!

 He still has a long way to go and much to learn but he already knows something...and isn't that better than nothing???
Luke in "rest position" with his teacher.
 Part of his learning process is practicing the "bowing" in the air.  It is a very peaceful and silent way to learn:)

Luke with his best "bow hold"
 Before Luke even had a violin he would tell me that he already knew how to play.  I suppose that is partially true.  He first learned to clap the rhythms, then he learned to bow the rhythms with a stick and sponge (practice violin), and now finally he has them down on the real violin.  

It has been fun watching all of these kids progress!  We used to observe the little boy behind Luke in his lesson back in September when I was learning to play.  Part of the learning process is observation.
 Luke has his first real concert this Sunday!  He is pretty excited to be on stage with the big kids and gets to play along with 4 songs and practice bowing in the air for 3 songs.  I am impressed because we actually went to watch this end of the year concert last year and he didn't even want to go into the sanctuary.  We sat in the very back row and I practically had to pin him down to sit still.  A year later he is up on stage performing!

Pretty good form I would say for 4?!

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