Well, we've marked our first anniversary on the violin. We're back from the institute. It was nice to see familiar faces and I was proud of my little Suzuki student. She was so confident and comfortable in the institute environment. She actually volunteered to be the first student to play in her master class on Monday. Because she was the youngest student and a bit introverted, she didn't rush around making friends, but she got along well with the other children and really enjoyed watching them. What interested me most was who Erin chose as a role-model: one of the Book 3 students, not the oldest or most advanced student, but clearly the student with the most outstanding combination of musicality, proficiency, and dedication to the violin, and that look of complete comfort on the instrument. Even the littlest students can be very discerning in their choice of heros.
Erin seemed to often reside on another planet during group classes. I would have to remind myself that she's not attending school yet, and she almost never gets group lesson experience, so she is a novice in the classroom. But I didn't really expect her to be the one child standing blankly in playing position in the middle of the room every time the rest of the students had promptly followed instructions and sat down or got into rest position or gone back to sit with their parents or whatever. The only thing which prevented me from stage-whispering intense commands to her from the sidelines during these moments was my previous teacher-training courses, where we had been encouraged to observe and critique parents' counter-productive behaviours in just such situations. I had to work consciously at just letting her be out there, in her own little world, comfortable and happy, but not terribly connected to reality at times!
Now I am worrying about the case of post-institute let-down which we experienced last year. Erin's Grandma/teacher is away for the next couple of weeks, so I am working extra hard to keep a bit of momentum going until then. I am baiting her with preparation exercises for G-major and upcoming pieces in the hope that we can keep her inspiring institute memories alive: she watched a couple of children in her master class working on Andantino and on the low-2 finger position. And I think I will start playing the Book 3 recording regularly, since I want her to keep thinking about the girl who played those pieces so beautifully. I notice that Erin has started rocking her body a little as she plays legato pieces, just the way Brynne did at the recital.
Happy First Violin Anniversary, Erin!