Erin has had this little violin for about a year now. She has scrubbed away on it as if it were a toy (gently, though) and we have casually worked on bow-hold and violin-hold and rhythm-recognition. She has been a quiet observer of many of the lessons I teach to other students, so she has absorbed a lot by osmosis. And we've been playing the Book 1 tape faithfully for a few months. But I sensed the need to officially start our teaching/learning routine, so an institute seemed like a good place to begin.
The institute we attended (the only one in British Columbia) was a tiny one, about 5 hours' drive from where we live. There were about thirty students, two faculty, and the students were mostly Books 1 and 2, ages 4 to 10. There was a group of four pre-Twinklers there this year, which gave Erin a nice cohort of peers. She was very shy for the first two or three days, snuggling in my lap, occasionally offering out a bow-hand to show off a bow-hold. But as the week progressed, she became a full participant in the pre-Twinkle group class activities, and at her last couple of master classes she actually played the first Twinkle rhythm on open E out loud for the teacher. At the final concert she enthusiastically took her place on stage with the other children and played her open string rhythms during the final Twinkles.
I feel as if we've really begun.