Thursday, February 08, 2007

Thumb in

Fiona has moved her thumb inside her bow -- a real "big kid" bow hold. She's now been having regular lessons and practicing virtually every day for almost a year and a quarter. I've given up waiting for the bubble to burst. She's in it for the long haul. Though I never expected to start her on the violin before her fifth birthday or so, she had other plans.

She practices cheerfully and eagerly most of the time. At least half the time she's the one who initiates practicing. A couple of months ago, after a long grind working on D-string issues, I think she was losing steam, and there were a few days that got missed and then a few where I gingerly nudged her to practice. I worried that this was the beginning of the end of the easy ride I was getting with this kid. I was concerned that the gentle nudges I gave would change the equation and produce resistance. But then she rallied. We're back on track this month. Once again I have a little girl who regularly decides that 5 repetitions isn't enough, that she wants to do fifteen or twenty. Or who says "no, I want to play it again; I think I can do better" when I suggest moving on to a new task in her practicing. And yet she's not a perfectionist in that paralyzing way that the older siblings have experienced at various stages. She will laugh and say "hoho! that was terrible" and matter-of-factly leave something until tomorrow if it's really giving her trouble.

Yesterday she performed a beautiful "Long Long Ago" at the local nursing home. She's happily preparing for a formal recital of this piece in early March. On Sunday she "tricked" Sophie by playing her the first eight bars of the Seitz Concerto No. 5, 1st movement (which Sophie has been recently polishing). She's eagerly learning Minuet 1 and polishing Etude. She can play almost anything by ear if she knows it well inside her head. On Tuesday she was thrilled to play along with the Big Kids (Book 4+) who are learning the Pachelbel Canon. She played the first 16 notes with the biggest grin on her face.

Her bowhold is stable, and her bow-direction is better controlled, with her thumb inside, in the grown-up place, so tonight we decided it will just be there full-time. I told her that this made her "not a beginning violinist any more." She loves the feeling of gaining competence and becoming more and more like her older siblings with her violin ability. I love the feeling of finally having "an easy one" for a Suzuki child. Part of me thinks I deserve this after the other three. The rest of me knows I don't, that I've still got outstanding bad karma due to my own behaviour as a Suzuki child a generation ago. Oh well. I'll take what I can get.


  1. I read your blog with great's always lots of fun. I always find it interesting that kids (yours, mine, other people's)growing up in the same family can develop such different really makes one think hard about nature versus nurture.

  2. You make me laugh, Miranda... bad karma! And way to go Fiona!


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