Monday, March 24, 2008

Violin woes.

Of all the instruments Ditz does violin has proved the most difficult. It doesn't help that she just won't practise but any time I suggest she may want to give this instrument up she protests vehemently. I might insist except I can see how even the little bit she does do helps everything else so we are persevering.

We have been nearly three weeks without a lesson. Between the car & the teacher's rehearsal schedule it just didn't happen ~ & nor did any practise. Somewhere else I bury my head in a book while Ditz makes extraordinary noises.

Anyway, at the back of my mind I must have been paying subconcious attention because it suddenly struck me that Ditz was actually improving. It wasn't that Ditz was actually playing the right notes; she's always managed that ~ more or less; she does tend to be a little sharp on occasions. Nor was it that she was playing Greensleeves at time. She has been playing Greensleeves at time for some It wasn't that she was reading her music; Ditz has no problems with her reading. No, rather she was playing with a measure of confidence that has been sadly lacking with the violin. She has tended to play over carefully, clutching the violin like a drowing man instead of holding it in the relaxed caress necessary for good technique.

Now this might seem like a small thing but Ditz does not normally lack for confidence & consequentially has rarely had to struggle to learn anything she really puts her mind to. Violin has been the exception. She has struggled. I have heard, 'I'm dumb', more than once. Over & over I've had to remind her what happened when she first began to learn the piano. Every time Sian gave her a new piece Ditz went into meltdown & we got the 'I can'ts, it's too hard's. She refrained from this morbid monologue with violin & has always enjoyed her lessons. Her teacher is a sweet, gentle lady who always plays one part while Ditz does the other & during holiday periods forms impromptu ensembles of all her island students, which is heaps of fun & good experience.

Part of the problem I suspect was Ditz's own expectations. Piano, & especially flute, she made progress really fast & got a lot of positive feedback. Violin has not been like that. Progress has been achingly slow. Now there are at least 16 things a violin player needs to remember before they begin to play: stance, bow hold, bow position, violin position, violin hold, fingers. Then there is reading the music, deciding which string a note is on, remembering the correct fingering for that note, hearing the note correctly in your head, hearing if you have played the right note, hearing if you need to be sharper or flatter in comparison to other players, 1st position, 2nd position, 3rd position.....yadda, yadda,yadda. It makes my head spin just thinking about it & Ditz is not my most co~ordinated child.

Any time Ditz is asked to comment on her violin she clams up or gapes like a stunned mullet leaving her teacher helplessly trying to 2nd guess her so I nearly fell over when I heard Ditz explaining a problem clearly & sensibly. She has been working on her dynamics too & it seems everything is finally coming together. Maybe it is just her age. She's moving out of childhood fairly confidently. Maybe this is just the little boost she needs to get a grip on this instrument too. I guess time will tell.


molytail said...

Now this might seem like a small thing

No it doesn't. :-) ...I get what you're saying and it's awesome that she's improving. :-)

I wouldn't know what to do with a violin if it came up and bit me on the nose. :-P

Ganeida said...

Nah, me neither...& I can't read the music, not for violin. I can't work out how anyone ever knows what they're doing with this instrument. It would drive me batty but then I never wanted to learn thugh Ditz did try to explain....

MamaOlive said...

Violin is the one instrument I learned. I took lessons for several years, but never was 'good' at it. I'm glad I had the lessons anyway, as it gave me a more or less basic understanding of music.
Glad to hear Ditz is getting it.

Mrs. Darling said...

Shoot, now im wondering if I have Tink on the wrong instrument. She isnt making any progress on violin to speak of. Its frustrating. Maybe she never will. Yikes.

Ganeida said...

Mrs D.,I have somewhere round here a small booklet that helps you match a child to an instrument they will do well on. Looks at child's personality/learning style & instrument requirements. I always knew violin was *wrong* for Ditz ~ too fussy, too exacting, too slow. Flute, on the other hand, is a perfect match for her. (I actually chose that one! lol!) My kinesthetic learners were keen on drums ~ again a good match. Perhaps that's why they never learned; I really don't think I could have coped with that. I'm sure the States will list something similar somewhere.