Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Fiddling Around

We've been on a bit of a music kick here lately. 

First Leena and Zorg wanted singing lessons.

Then the Emperor started guitar lessons.

Then I picked up my violin again.

Actually, I just realized that I've never even mentioned playing the violin! Playing the violin is a big part of why I home school the way I do! I must tell you the story!

I started learning the violin in my mid thirties because I wanted my kids to see me fail at something.  Well, not fail necessarily, just not succeed easily, perhaps not succeed at all.

My kids were all still young, and I could see that they were watching me.  I could read effortlessly. I knew instantly that 7 x 8 was 56. I could tie my shoes quickly - and they stayed tied.

Everything I was teaching them was easy for me, and hard for them. They never saw me struggling to learn something, so they were developing the idea that something was wrong with them if they struggled to learn anything.

I should mention that I do not have a great sense of pitch.  Or rhythm. And I have a hard time picking up new physical skills. I determined that success, for me, would be defined by playing a song recognizably at the end of one year. I wasn't sure I'd hit the goal, but I thought I might make it.

I figured that the kids would pick it up faster than I would, so Mxyl (6), Klenda (5), and I (33) all started together.

It was lovely.  And hard
We had a very patient and optimistic teacher. We actually all learned at about the same pace, although I had to work to keep up. 

The kids saw me struggle, make (lots of) mistakes, gradually improve, and have fun, even when I wasn't perfect.

It was such a blessing!

What was more, to my surprise, I liked it!   At a time in my life when I felt snowed under with the physical work of caring for my four young children, playing the violin was playing, even though I had to work at it.

Now, even though Mxyl and Klenda have moved on from the violin (and I had a lapse of some years), I am still enjoying playing. 

They learned the lesson that everyone has to work to learn new skills (and that work can be fun).

I learned the lesson that regardless of personal talent, 15 minutes of daily practice will eventually yield competence: at the end of the first year, I could play 52 songs recognizably!

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