I can't help but be sad that Michael Jackson has died. Being a child of the 80's, I can vividly remember where I was when I first saw the videos for "Thriller", "Bad", and "We are the World" among others. It's not that I was a huge fan or that I ever owned any of his records, but he definitely changed American culture and music the way few have.
However, speaking of music, I've been waiting to share this moment for six months.
Jackson and Haviland started taking Suzuki Violin lessons in January and yes, it has been a long six months. I started with the big picture in mind (that I wanted them to be able to appreciate music regardless of any natural talent) and I am glad I kept that big picture in mind.
They first worked with a cardboard violin and dowel rod bow learning the parts then moving onto their first real violins. After that was teaching them the proper way to stand, to hold the violin in the playing and rest positions, correct bow hold, care of the violin when it is out of it's case, tightening and loosening the bow and preparing the bow with rosin. Think we were ready for playing songs yet? Nope.
Then came the rhythms (taca-taca stop stop, down snoopy up snoopy, popcorn and candy, triplette triplette triplette, wish I had a baby dino), followed by plucking different notes, learning fingering positions, etc. etc. etc. So now, just this week they have begun piecing it all together to play their very first piece - are you ready for this?? "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" Impressive, huh? :)
It seems so silly in many ways that they are just playing their first tune after six months and nothing more than "Twinkle, Twinkle" at that, but this is what I love about the classical model of education (classical violin fits right into this model). First they had to learn the basics or the grammar of what they were undertaking, repeat it repeat it repeat it and then put all the pieces together. I actually love that it was not an overnight process. Everything in our childrens' world today is instant and very, very rarely do we teach them that perseverance pays off. Not only that, but teaching them the skills and technique of how to learn something helps them then to be able to continue learning on their own whether or not I'm there.
This is such an exciting journey.
Of course if any of you out there play the violin, any other instrument or just enjoy music for music's sake, this may be painful to watch and listen to. We are only just beginning our journey. :)
Oh and lest you think that music appreciation here at the Graham's consists of only stringed instruments, I included a clip of Bennett and his musical taste of the moment.
I'll have to include a clip of Haviland playing soon. I'd say she's about three weeks behind Jackson and still working on her fingering. However just to not leave her out, here's a very proud moment of hers as she learned all 45 Presidents to song.
2 years ago