Saturday, February 28, 1998

Erin's Violin Blog 8

I'm wondering where we went so wrong last fall. I didn't appreciate how hard it would be to get a home routine established, and I guess I just wasn't committed to it: in the back of my head I kept thinking, "well, she's still only three-and-a-half..." And I think I questioned my own motivation behind starting her so young. Did I want her to be some SuperKid? And part of me still believed that I could magically get her all fired up and wanting to do it desperately. Maybe some kids are like that: I think it's more likely in families where there hasn't always been a violin around, where there's that novelty effect of something brand-new and hitherto out of reach. For whatever reason, with Erin it wasn't like that.

But she's increasingly motivated now that we're practising every day and she sees her progress. She is the initiator of our practice sessions as often as not these past couple of weeks, and although we do not practice for long or terribly efficiently, I am delighted and relieved that we now have a happy routine.

I have begun using a number of gimmicks. She gets $1 a week for practising and making her bed every day. It goes into her piggy bank, and I don't think she has any idea what it's for, but it seems to make her happy. We practice in my basement teaching room, rather than in the "living" part of the house, so she feels special and grown up like my older students.

I am blessed with a camcorder, and we have started videotaping her practising each Sunday, as a sort of "lesson". We mail the tape to grandma on Mondays and will probably get some feedback, but the most important thing is that it gives us a weekly goal. We use stickers sometimes, and even KinderSurprises (one KS for every ten twinkles). Yes, we are doing Twinkles all the way through, now. Labouriously slowly, but she seems to have the concentration to get all the way through. So we are keeping track. Thirty five and counting.

I am really glad that I finally pushed ahead with this violin thing again. We are learning lots about each other, she is gaining confidence and maturity. Oddly enough, she has decided that she should also practice reading and math every day. The other day we had to do sums in the bathroom while getting ready for bed because we'd forgotten to do them earlier! So it seems she is learning a lot about what learning is all about.

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