Wednesday, December 2, 2009

On With the Show

Darling little Ava's first "real" violin lesson was today...in conjunction with Liesl's. She is now old enough to handle sitting in on Liesl's lessons with minimal supervision, and can play quietly during the entire time. (Well, most of it.) So now she will be bringing her own little violin to Liesl's lesson and having a regular 15-minute session of her own. Ava is quite at home in Miss Sharon's studio; it doesn't hurt that we've been regular guests in Miss Sharon's house since before Ava could sit up.

Like many younger siblings, Ava takes great interest in doing whatever Liesl does, which is why we bought a very, very cheap violin for her about a year ago. It's what Shar Music likes to refer to as a "V.S.O." (Violin-Shaped Object) and it was almost unplayable when we bought it. (Frugality is a noble trait, but not when purchasing stringed instruments!) However, if the very cheap 1/32 violin we bought for Ava was almost unplayable before, being in at the hands and mercy of a toddler for 9 months rendered it completely worthless now--at least for making actual music. If you look closely you'll see that the bow no longer has any horsehair, the E string peg barely moves, and the bridge was systematically removed so many times that I finally just glued it down. It's completely untunable--not that Ava strives for perfect intonation (yet) anyway. Still...the goal was to have it in Ava's hands and give her something to carry around while Liesl and Daddy and I practice, and to keep the interest "real" for her. She loves to unpack and pack it in it's tiny case (we call this "playing house" with her instrument,) and she takes great pride in copying her sister by carrying the case out to the car, and then into Miss Sharon's house when we arrive for lessons or chamber music rehearsals. As she gets older and is able to take more direction, like Liesl was able to do at about 2-3/4 years, we'll place Liesl's old 1/16 violin in her hands, as this one is actually playable.

Tom and I still play together on an almost daily basis, if only for a few minutes a day. We've managed to get a few very short, simple trios going between Tom, Liesl and I (during which, Ava can be seen toddling around between the 3 of us, carrying her well-beaten loved V.S.O. as she "fiddles" along with us.) If it weren't for having such an amazing, giving violin teacher; I'd be tempted to send one of our girls to a cello instructor and the other to a violist so we could have a real string quartet...we'd rival the Von Trapp Family Singers! (We'll just have to settle for a violin quartet.)

Butting in on Sissy's lesson and playing pizzicato on her V.S.O.
(Sort of. Hey, you gotta give her credit for trying. She's 2.)

1 comment:

Rachel Barton said...

Google Alerts gave me the link to your page! Thanks so much for the plug, and good luck with your kids' lessons.

best,
Rachel Barton Pine :)