Earlier this fall, I mentioned that C has started Suzuki method violin lessons, and I loved reading the comments from so many of you who have had great experiences with Suzuki.
Well, I’m happy to report that C’s first few months of lessons have gone great. She really enjoys the violin, and her teacher seems terrific. We are very lucky because in addition to her weekly Suzuki lesson, my mother in law, C’s beloved Mimi, is a very accomplished music teacher, so she’s able to help C practice at least once a week in addition to her weekly lessons. Also, C attends kindergarten at our district’s only fine arts magnet school, so she also gets to have fun learning in both vocal and instrumental music classes each week. For all these reasons, C is progressing nicely with her impossibly tiny and adorable 5 year old-sized violin. She also seems to be having a good time with music, and that’s wonderful to watch.
However, she was not too thrilled when about a month ago, she was informed that all of her teacher’s violin students would be performing in a recital to take place on November 18 -today. As the date grew closer, she began telling Jon, me, J and E that she did NOT want to play in the recital because she was afraid she “wouldn’t be perfect.” We explained to her again and again that no one expected her to play perfectly, and that the recital would be fun. We encouraged her to relax, which does not come easily to her.
She remained very anxious about the whole thing, and I began wondering whether it was really a good idea to force a very reluctant 5 year old to perform at a recital. I worried that maybe this would zap the joy right out of learning violin. However, Jon, who really understands C’s little mind because they are much alike in many ways, assured me that I needed to get hold of my own anxieties, and instead express calm confidence to C that not only could she play in the recital, but that she would enjoy it. Furthermore, he helped me see that C really needed both of us to be somewhat firm with her about the fact that the decision as to whether she would play in the recital was already made, and that she could trust us that it was the right decision.
I knew he was right, and I knew that it would really help her confidence if she did the recital, so I followed Jon’s lead, and C stopped seeming quite so freaked out about the upcoming recital, although she still expressed her concerns about making mistakes.
Today the big day arrived, and she seemed resigned to her participation and possibly even a little curious about what the recital would be like. So at about 1pm, all of us except E (he was at the cousins for the afternoon working
on his Christmas list) headed about a mile up the street in our neighborhood to the Lutheran church, where the recital would be held.
C suddenly didn’t seem nervous at all as she waited with her sisters, her Mimi, Jon & me for her turn to go up and play. In fact, she seemed pretty excited.
Soon it was her time to go up and play her little version of “Twinkle Twinkle.” She just popped right up there with her violin and didn’t seem nervous at all.
Her Suzuki teacher helped her get situated to play.
And reminded her to take her bow.
She did GREAT! And she was so proud of herself as she came back down the stairs with her little violin, and everyone was clapping for her.
As the next few children performed, G became more and more restless and noisy, so I whisked her outside to the church playground, while C and the rest of the fam stayed inside to continue watching the recital.
G was happy as a clam playing outside on such a sunny and warm November afternoon. She was dressed up for her sister’s recital, so I tried to get her to sit or stand still for a photo, but she had no interest in staying in one place long enough for that. So mostly I chased her around snapping photos of her as she dashed hither and yon.
After the recital was over, C joined us on the playground, where she played a little outdoor violin for us.
She also tried her best to get her little sister to sit still for a photo.
But G still wasn’t having any of my paparazzi action.
So then they both scurried off to play for a few more minutes until we all went home. Where I proceeded to take an afternoon nap right along with G.