January 14, 2010 at 9:47 AM
This has been a most refreshing week for me. The first week back teaching after Christmas break is notoriously rough, especially when students quit unexpectedly or forget to come to their lesson. Or don't pay. This week, everyone showed up on time for their lesson, almost everyone paid, and no one quit. In fact, I added a couple of siblings, and will now expand my studio in order to accommodate those who have been patiently waiting to begin their happy fun-filled journey on the violin. Ahh, I wish every week could be like this one was.
I met with one of my students, who'd recently made the varsity basketball team as a freshman and needed rescheduling for lessons which fell on game nights. Not wanting to add a burden to her already hectic schedule, I let her know that I was willing to take the back burner during basketball season and wouldn't assign her anything unless she had time for it and wanted to pursue it. She quickly explained, "Violin lessons are my down time. When I practice, I play for fun, and it's always something I look forward to." You mean you do this because you like it? What? Wait, isn't that the point of it all? I felt like I'd finally met someone who felt familiar--a kindred spirit of sorts. I don't know why this surprises me so much. I guess I tend to assume it's my job to make a bunch of people do something they don't want to do, trying to convince them it's good for them, rather like eating vegetables. I forget that the violin never was that way for me when I learned it. Those who succeed at this instrument are marked by a certain love that makes etudes and scales a sweet pill that opens up a world of song.
Very good blog. For those of us for whom playing violin is our "down time" or the way we get centered in the morning, it is easy to understand the basketballer's point of view. However, with so many kids who are forced by their parents to play an instrument and look upon the whole process as the equivalent of being forced to eat vegetables they don't like, it is great to have some like the basketballer and hope that you can change the attitudes of some of the others. Good luck. If anyone can do it, you can.
"I guess I tend to assume it's my job to make a bunch of people do something they don't want to do, trying to convince them it's good for them, rather like eating vegetables."
Emily you are so funny!!! ; ) I know what you mean...
Amen! I wish there were more violin teachers like you in the world. May your students all discover the joy of playing.
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