Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Violin through the Ages

Well, ok - it isn't exactly through the Ages... through a child's lifetime?

Delta at Violin Lesson - Age 4

(Sorry about the picture quality of some of these - they have been taken with a variety of cameras over the years, and not always the best!  And Blogger converts them so they take less space - which affects the quality too.)

In this video, you can see Delta (and the Saturday Beginner Class) playing the "E String Concerto" in the spring concert.  Delta is the boy on the far right (looking at them) - the one closest to the camera. This was 2008, and so he would be 4 years old, and had been playing the violin for about 8 months (the first 3 on a boxilin).

The next video is during a "Solo Day" in class.  Delta is playing the "E String Concerto" again.  Solos are selected to be a song the child is very familiar with, and not their latest songs.  Delta had just changed teachers a few weeks earlier, and could "Twinkle", but just.  He had now been playing for about a year and a half.  He is 5.

Not quite a year later, and a lot of progress has been seen.  On Solo day, Delta is playing "Long Long Ago". Delta is 6, and playing for 2.5 years.  (Unfortunately, the video gives an error when I try to upload it...)

About 1/2 a year later, I have a video of Delta playing at home.  He is playing Perpetual Motion (it wouldn't be considered solo ready.)   You can see that Delta has a firmly entrenched bad habit - the "Frying Pan" hand.  His left hand is flat supporting the violin, instead of the wrist being straight.  This ends up being a major problem.  (This can cause physical problems, as well as stopping the progress of a violinist.  Delta is 6 in the video, and would have been playing for almost 3 years.

The next year during Solo Day, Delta is playing Etude.  He would now be 7, and playing for 3.5 years. (This video won't load either...)

Another 1/2 year later, we have the Winter Concert, where he is playing Minuet 1.  Delta is the boy next to the piano (whom the director obscures as she rocks back and forth.)  By this time he is 8, and playing for 4 years.  His teacher had by this time decided that he didn't like violin and this was to be the end of violin (as far as she was concerned) for him - but she agreed to continue with him if he continued to practice.  (By this time in lessons he is at the start of Book 2)

Just a few months later.  Delta is leading his class in a Minuet.  This was probably his last class before his teacher decided she would no longer teach him.  He is at this point 8, and been playing for 4.5 years.

At this point, we took a year long break from doing violin.  Delta was "done" as far as he was concerned.  He has recently taken it up again.  I am a little disappointed to see how many songs he has forgotten.  I'm sure he will learn them fairly quickly again though.  We don't have a teacher, and probably won't be able to have one for several months.  The good thing though, is he is enjoying violin again.  And as far as I'm concerned - more important than the number of songs - he is fixing his bad habits.  I just took the following video - and see how straight his wrist is!  He has never consistently played with a straight wrist, and honestly did resist correction.  Now a quick reminder if it starts to flatten, and it is back to straight!  I think he is also being much more careful of finger placement as well.  We shall just have to see how it goes.

It hasn't been an easy trip - and certainly a lot slower than seems to be normal out in the Suzuki community. The thing is,  I love to hear him play, and I hope he will love to play now and in the future.

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