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Friday, November 14, 2014

a little girl and her first violin

Nell has been watching me play and teach the violin since she was a newborn.  As a baby, she sometimes sat in her swing while I taught lessons, until she was old enough {i.e. mobile and / or noisy!} that she really needed to be with a sitter during those times.  Nowadays she often wanders into the music room when I'm teaching, first waiting at the doorway for an approving nod from me that she can come in.  She knows she must sit quietly if she wants to be with me, and she sometimes chooses to do that for a bit before returning to her play with her sitter.

I have a little pencil sharpener shaped like a violin, and for several months now, she has frequently asked to hold it.  She happily exclaims, "wee-wee-wahn!" (violin!), and tucks that tiny little thing under her chin.

So, when I was placing an order of sheet music and teaching supplies and the like from Johnson String Instrument earlier this week, I decided to add on one of their little cardboard violins with bow.  For $10.95, I thought she would get some enjoyment out of it and it would be well worth it.

The package arrived yesterday afternoon, as Nell was just coming out of two days of a high fever and cough.  Poor girlie.  I eagerly opened the box, thinking that little violin might bring her some happiness.  It was easy to assemble, and I presented it to her, explaining, "I got you a special pretend violin to play!"

She was so excited.  She asked me to help her tuck it under her chin, and she quickly moved the wooden bow across the ink-printed "strings."  Her enthusiasm vanished as quickly as it had come, and she gave me the saddest look, and carefully set the "violin" down on the floor.  Silently, she walked into our TV room and climbed into Nathan's recliner, dejected.  I followed her in there and said, "Nell, you don't have to play with the violin if you don't like it.  It's okay."

She looked up at me, and her eyes filled with tears, and she said, "Not workin'!"

Oh my goodness, my heart just about broke.

I guess I should have put a little more emphasis on the "pretend" and a little less on the "violin" when I presented it to her.

We talked about it, and I explained how it was just for pretending, and she could imagine the music or sing it while she held the violin if she wanted to.  In a few minutes, she was ready to give the cardboard violin a second chance -- and this time around, she loved it.  She loved it so much she wanted to wrap it in a blanket with her while we read her bedtime story.

And today, it occupied her for more than an hour!  She played it by herself, then "played" along with me on over a dozen songs, turning pages of sheet music on the music stand in between songs and instructing me "This one, Mama," while pointing with her little bow.  She cried when I told her she couldn't take the violin into her bed for her nap because it might get squashed.  And later in the afternoon, when I ran out to the grocery store, she "played" along with Nathan as he played songs on the piano for her.  And she played it again while I made dinner.  I think she is loving getting to participate in her own small way in the music-making that is so often going on around here.

At one point this afternoon, she started looking down at her right elbow as she played, lifting it a bit higher, and saying, "Elbow up, elbow up."  I guess she's observing more than I realize when she sits in on those violin lessons... I do indeed have a few students with perpetually sagging bow elbows who receive frequent reminders about it!

I caught a few moments of her playing her "violin" on video.  I couldn't help myself.





{She could probably learn to pronounce the word "violin" correctly now, but I still love hearing her say "wee-wee-wahn" the way she has for so long.  I can't quite bring myself to correct her on it just yet.}

Oh, how we love that girl.


P.S. -- Disclaimer for those violinists out there.  Yes, I am aware that she isn't holding either part of the equation properly.  No, I am not yet attempting to teach my 2.5 year old at this time... just letting her have fun with her own version of her mother's much-coveted musical instrument.

5 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh. She could NOT be any cuter! It's so wonderful how music can bring such joy to the little ones.

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  2. This is SO precious! I was going to suggest turning on a CD of violin music she could play along to and "pretend" it's her, but I think mama's music is all the better!!
    You're a good mama! :)

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  3. This totally reminds me of when we got N her first violin... it was a big sister present when L was born. She played a little song and I took a video and posted it online, and immediately afterward I became afraid of being judged by all my musician friends for not teaching her proper positioning :) But all of that went out the window for me, when I witnessed her joy at having her very own "instrument" when she had wanted so badly to play with all my students coming to the house for so long. It looks like Nell had the same experience... that little smile at the end of the first video says it all!!

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  4. P.S. I made your butternut squash quiche last night (crustless because I was lazy) and it was sooooo delicious. I was hoping to have leftovers for breakfast but we ate the whole thing (a friend came over and helped us; we are only slightly gluttonous :) Thanks again for sharing!!

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