Saturday, January 13, 2001

Erin's Violin Blog 18

Things are continuing to move ahead for Erin at a rewarding, steady pace. She's working on Beethoven Minuet now and is looking forward to starting Book 3 in the next couple of months. Although practising is never easy for her to get initiated, she is still doing the better part of an hour a day on each of violin and piano. The focus on review continues, with older review and the playing of recently polished pieces comprising the larger proportion of her practice time.

We're also now doing a regular improvisation exercise and some note-reading practice every day. Both of these endeavours are coming along really nicely. I am an amazed and delighted observer of her improv efforts. She uses sequences, specific bowing/articulation patterns, rhythmic motifs and runs of perfectly plotted-out passing notes to reach cadences as planned. It's amazing to realize that she really is internalizing, integrating and generalizing all the musical conventions she's encountering in her studies. They are truly a part of her now.

Posture continues to be an issue, of course. The best I can say is that things aren't getting any worse, and that she does now seem to be occasionally interested in autonomously setting and monitoring good posture habits in her easy review repertoire. We're still a long way from having good replacement habits established, but there's a glimmer of interest now, I think, in her fixing her own problems. I'm trying to gently persuade her that she's closing in on the repertoire level where her posture problems are going to become technically limiting for her (Book 4, as I see it) and that there is some urgency involved.

The other issue that is continuing in the forefront is that of role-modelling. The only students in the area who are more advanced than she are two teenagers. It would be so nice for her to have students she could look up to, whose posture, tone, musicianship and technical facility she could aspire to. She's doing amazingly well to maintain her diligence when she knows not a single other child under fourteen who puts anywhere close to as much committment into musical study of any description as she. The best I can hope for is to give her a little taste of a peer group at the occasional institute, and to the best of my ability give her contact with children and adults who take any pursuit seriously enough to work diligently at it every day. It's a tall order.