Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Well, seems like as good a place as any to start. I had a delightful lesson with E this morning. He's four.
When you're four, your teacher is a spectacularly sneaky person who SNEAKS into the room and startles you so much it's necessary to hide under a chair.

A rather small, foldout chair which conceals absolutely nothing. It's very funny.

But then we have a great lesson. He brings me his (tiny) violin to tune. It's a 1/32nd, which means about 34 cms from scroll to tailpin. He stands on his foot mat and takes a perfect bow in rest position, bow dangling from right forefinger just like it's supposed to.

Play position!
We blow our left-hand fingers off the fingerboard, ready to play open A. When you're 4, it's hard to wait, but E. has mastered the skill of getting ready...and listening to my introductory pitches.

We play "Busy Busy Stop Stop" together with only gentle (and probably unnecessary) cues from me. E. can 'bridge' his three fingers beautifully now so only the tips are on the strings.
Tone is good today and we pass some BBSS's on E back and forth to polish the sound and get rid of the scratchy bits.

Then we play a bit of string bingo, with and without the violin in place.
Keeping the bowhold consistent and pinky strong is a challenge, but can be done.
Then we play ALL of BBSS.

The focus is great and SO improved from where we were a month ago.
Heck, we're READY to focus for two whole minutes now on one sequence of sounds... and after a cuddle break with Mum we finish up our lesson with a coherent and pretty straight-bowed Twinkle.
Didn't even need Fat Panda to help us keep the bow straight today, but we DID put stars on Mum's violin so she knows where her fingers go.

And my second lesson? Eleven-yr-old girls are very different to four-yr-old boys, but sometimes they impress you just as much.

This E had started Pachelbel Canon by herself and done some really nice work on Seitz 3, and her golden comment of the day was "You know, when you just learn one bar at a time, it really adds up!" Yes, yes it does.

We're trying to pull a bit more tone out of her violin, and learn that just because the left hand is having a tricky time doesn't mean right hand drops it's bundle (so to speak!) but the awareness that she COULD learn and I'm just the enabler was priceless. Hope she takes it into her school and family life too.

Goodie boxes. Yep, little pastel chinese takeout containers :) Thanks, Riot Art & Craft!

My awesome single-sided business cards without text from vistaprint. Hooray for cheap!

Mantis, Fat Panda, dots, bow monsters, stars for Mums... just a few of my helpers.

This term? Implementing my goodie boxes and cards - whether for enabling review or skill development...I'm not sure which yet. Maybe I'll let children choose how they're used - I think they'll enjoy that more. I'm really happy with the designs I chose and hopefully they'll appeal to the kids too!

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