Wednesday, June 24, 1998

Erin's Violin Blog 11

My little performer performed a beautiful Twinkle Theme at our spring recital last week. Her first recital, a "Twinkle Graduation". She was very pleased with herself.

She is now working on Perpetual Motion. A lot has happened in the past couple of months. She has been teaching herself new pieces. The power of repetitive listening! Those hundreds of hours of Book 1 in the background have done the trick. She plays in tune and can "figure out" new pieces. I show her the bowing tricks and so on. But she learns the notes herself, always correctly.

Her grandma and grandpa have retired to our little corner of the earth, and grandma has agreed to teach Erin the violin. So am the "home teacher", and grandma is the "Wednesday teacher". This has helped us a lot. Erin is far more willing to do detail work on finger independance and bow distribution and posture remediation if the instructions come from her grandma. She is working hard, sometimes almost an hour of playing over the course of the day.

She has learned to revel in her comfort zone, and I've learned to let her. She plays her "review pieces" sometimes four or five times each when practising. This "playing through" takes up to ninety percent of her practising time. I am often tempted to correct posture or remind her to watch her bow during review time, but I keep my mouth shut. Reviewing her earlier repertoire is her reward and her motivator. It's what makes her feel wonderful. She can do it well, and it's so EASY now. I wonder if this will last. Or will she become like so many other students: will she tire of her old repertoire eventually, then begin to forget it, then learn to dislike it because it has become difficult to play well? Perhaps, but I will try to prevent this from happening. Right now we are aided by her developmental stage: preschoolers love repetition!

Last week we were fortunate to be able to attend a one-day workshop with a guest teacher in a nearby village. It was Erin's first chance to play her new post-Twinkle repertoire in a group. She stood up and played it all. I was delighted. She was so painfully shy and reluctant in group situations a year ago, it was a treat to see her full of confidence and looking so capable and proud. And she worked with the teacher in the private lesson / master class as well, trying some new things that she'd never done before. And this despite the fact that I had to be out of the room trying to control her very enthusiastic younger brother for much of the lesson-time. (Noah will be two this fall. He wants his own violin. He wants it now.)

Can't wait for the institute. There is lots of hard work ahead in mid-Book 1: fourth fingers, a new second finger position, longer more complex pieces, new musical styles, slurs and so on. It will help to get a good dose of peer-motivation before hitting these challenges.