Friday, November 28, 2008

Tiny Virtuosa

This post is a mommy brag. Let's just get that straight from the start. :-)

Liesl had her 2nd official violin lesson today. I simply cannot believe how my 4 months of lessons (and daily practice) have influenced her with the violin. With our teacher's guidance, I did a lot of conscious work with her over those 4 months--I taught her the parts of the violin, we talked about how to take care of the violin and bow, and we talked about the music and exercises I was practicing. She also listened to Suzuki CD's every day for several hours, and together we watched clips of violinists on YouTube several times a week. (She loves videos of small children playing the violin!) But still--in these 4 short months, she has picked up so many things about music that I never thought to tell her about, never had the "time" to talk about, or, frankly, didn't really know myself. I am amazed at how quickly small children learn--both what we teach, and what they observe on their own.

After Liesl's 1st lesson last week (there is one picture below of that, but I was too busy enjoying the lesson and taking notes to take a lot of pictures), I received a very excited email from our teacher, Sharon. She and I have been discussing Liesl's first lesson for a while. We had assumed that Liesl would start with a 15-minute lesson for a few months, but decided that her 1st lesson would be 30 minutes so that Mommy and Miss Sharon had enough time to talk and take notes during the instruction. Liesl pretty much blew both of us away by staying attentive and engaged for the entire 30 minutes--so much so, that Miss Sharon wanted to continue with 30-minute lessons. She also said we should speed up our plans to get a "real" instrument in Liesl's hands ASAP. (The pictures of Liesl "playing" violin that you may have seen on this blog are with a toy violin. Miss Sharon suggested late in the summer that we buy it so Liesl can get a little hands-on training without damaging an expensive instrument.) But after Liesl's amazing 1st lesson last week, Sharon and I moved heaven and earth to get her first "real" violin this week. And we found one--a blemished Hoffman Etude outfit, with a bow and case--all in the 1/16 size. It is the most adorable thing I have ever seen in my life! (Ok, well, next to my kids, of course.) It is tiny, people. Absolutely amazing that this thing can produce the sounds of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."

So today was Liesl's 2nd lesson, and again, she blew us both away. She is progressing so quickly through the beginning skills that Miss Sharon wants her to perform in the December recital class. My little girl is so enthusiastic about playing her very own violin. Sharon says that this is largely due to watching me practice daily, and watching her Daddy and I play together--we often do that on the weekends with the girls running around at our feet.

I am so very, very thankful that we found Sharon. She's a very patient, dedicated teacher with high warmth and very high demands on her students (myself included! I don't get away with not practicing just because I'm old and I don't keep a sticker chart!) She has a facinating resume and history with the violin. She has taught many small children and knows how to deal with them better than I do. She has been such a blessing on our lives for the short time we have known her.

Musical education is so important to little kids! I knew this when Liesl was a baby, but I hadn't yet figured out how to put it into practice (if you'll excuse the pun.) It's never too early--or too late--to start.
Demonstrating the standing rest position--protecting the violin

Showing off her perfect bow grip.
It took me 6 weeks to perfect my bow grip. It took her 6 minutes.

Playing for Miss Sharon in her studio

This was the only picture I took of Liesl's 1st lesson last week. I wish I had taken more, but I was busy taking notes and grinning my fool head off.


Shirla said...

How wonderful that Liesl is able to do this, your whole post and pics made me smile. :)

Gail said...

Rebecca,I think instrumental music is one of the most important things a parent can give to a child,and to have mom and dad play is icing on the cake :O) Liesl is adorable,and I'm so glad you found Miss Sharon :o)

Kendra said...

She looks like a natural!

Laura said...

I think it is so cool that my birthday twin is a musician, too. I am so glad you are nurturing that!