Monday, August 4, 2014


Helen started violin lessons a few weeks ago. As it turns out, learning the violin is a huge exercise in patience - for both the parent and the student. Helen's teacher uses a modified Suzuki approach. For practical purposes, this means Helen must have a "practice parent" and that parent must attend each lesson, take notes, and then work with Helen throughout the week. In our home, that duty falls to me. It's so outside Ed's skill set that we didn't even discuss it.

Of course, I don't actually know anything about the violin (except that I wish Helen was playing cello!), so it very much feels like a blind leading the blind sort of situation. I have been tempted to get a violin sized for me, because I figure if I'm tasked with teaching Helen, I might as well get the satisfaction of playing the instrument myself. But that's probably extremely bad form. This is Helen's instrument, not mine.

As everyone knows, the violin sounds just absolutely terrible when someone learns to play it. Well, at least that's what I am guessing. You see, four weeks in, Helen has still not been able to actually put bow to strings. It sort of feels like an endurance contest, to see how long Helen and I can last before she actually gets to play the thing. It's not clear whether this delay is actually to build all the skills needed to hold the bow and violin properly (as the teacher purports), or if the teacher is dreading those first few notes, and is delaying their playing as long as possible.

In any case, Helen has the tiniest violin ever, and it is super stinkin' cute. We were told last week, that this week, she might get to play a note.

We are both really excited for this big step!

When I took this photo at the instrument store, Helen was super embarrassed to be the kid with the mom with the camera. I think we can all be confident this will not be the last time she is embarrassed by me and my camera.

Stay tuned...I hope the violin does, too!


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