July 3, 2012 at 7:42 PMMusic surrounds us. It is arguably the most effective conduit for the expression of emotions and ideas. In fact, it is so effective that we don’t even need words! Yet, we are so accustomed to listening to music that we often take it for granted.
I would like to propose that you join me on a short journey as we stop and smell the roses and contemplate the enriching benefits that violin lessons can bring to you or your child. You may reasonably ask: “Why specifically violin?” You may substitute the word “violin” for “voice, cello, or even kazoo” if this makes you happy. As a professional violinist in Boston, however, I choose to speak about what I know best!
If I had to distill my personal reasons for pursuing my career as a musician into one word, it would be “Love”. In fact, I will go as far to say that this is the most important driving force behind doing anything worthwhile in this world. It doesn’t matter if you are a musician, doctor, or particle physicist. If you love to do something, the rest of your life will unfold like a flower.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “I was expecting a treatise on the benefits of music in education, brain development of babies, or, at the very least, an article about the sense of discipline that music can teach our children”! While I believe all of these elements to be important consequences of music lessons, they are just that: consequences. Furthermore, as a teacher, I do not know if my violin lessons will have the same impact on every student. This is a beautiful thing. After all, when we learn how to write, some of us use our education to produce novels, others create scientific articles, and others solve complex mathematical formulas. Some do all! Of course, if there is a particular need that I can fill through my lessons, such as a desire to bring structure into the life of a child, I am happy to comply.
The bottom line is that if a student, whether child or adult, shows an aptitude and desire to learn how to play the violin, the rest will follow. Yet, a partnership is needed between teacher and parent so that a student does not give in to the human impulse to give-up when things get harder (violin is not an easy instrument).
Let’s examine what I mean by the word “Love”, as stated above. The giver of love does so through an expression of support that allows the receiver to develop and grow without pressure. It is a sad testament to our society that many do not know what real love is.
I am very lucky. In my formative years, music was always taught to me through love. It was never forced and I was never pressured to be the best violinist in the world. As a result, I was able to figure out things for myself with the guidance of supportive teachers and parents. Because I didn’t feel the need to conform to the standards of others, I was able to find my own unique personal expression. In fact, the journey of personal expression continues to this day and changes in accordance to my surroundings. At heart, we musicians are communicators. As a teacher, my role is to give my students the technical tools to musically communicate. Of course, I have the obligation to teach the traditions of our musical forefathers, but when the student ultimately reaches a certain aptitude for the instrument and the appropriate historical style of the performance, the rest is up to him or her!
Sounds complex? Even a beginning 4 year old can transcend basic music through self expression. They don’t even have to try! Ever hear kids sing a playground song over and over (and over) again? What they are really doing is emoting through the music. As they “work it out”, they are perfecting their own expression in a unique way. Children are already creative by nature.
Applied to violin, once a child knows how to hold the violin and the bow, he or she can make up songs. Adult beginners can also find again what is all-too-often a long-lost creative impulse that we were all born with. In fact, practicing the violin is a wonderful outlet for this, and on an elemental level, is equivalent to singing in the shower. The beauty of this is that the journey never stops. What would you like to do with YOUR music?
I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Daniel Broniatowski, D.M.A.
Violin lessons in Brookline and Newton, MA | Greater Boston
I'm convinced this is the way to go. It parallels my own experience.
I always like classical music from the time I first heard it at home on radio and recordings -- even before preschool age. At 7, I started piano lessons; but when a pro orchestra played at my elementary school, the violin muse grabbed me. I told my parents I'd like to make the switch to violin. They consented.
Thank goodness for my teachers. I learned valuable guidance from each of them. Although teaching isn't my calling, the subject fascinates me and holds my attention every time it comes up on v.com. A good teacher and guide is someone I really don't think I could put a price tag on. My recommendation: When learning this instrument, don't go it alone. Get a teacher.
"… practicing the violin is … on an elemental level … equivalent to singing in the shower."
Yes. My equivalent of singing in the shower is playing violin in the garage. It's warm enough here most of the year for this, and the garage has nice reverb; so after the hard-core afternoon practice indoors, I have fun out there for the evening session. Friends and neighbors say they hang around to listen; so evidently the hard work continues to pay off.
"What would you like to do with YOUR music?"
Well, although I decided around 20 not to go pro, I plan to keep sharing the music. It always does me good -- alone or with a few musical friends -- and it's meant to be shared.
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