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Pauline Lerner

December 14, 2004 at 2:48 AM

I love teaching the violin! I love making people happy! There really is such a thing as instant gratification.

Today I taught one of my adult beginners. It was only his second lesson and he is doing so well. He holds the violin as if he had been playing all his life. He uses the bow well and gets a pretty tone from the violin. It’s a good violin for a beginner. He told me that he likes it. Last week, I went with him to get the violin and get him fitted for it. Then I gave him his first lesson. I showed him how to hold the violin and bow, how to draw the bow across the strings steadily to give a nice sound, and how to play some major scales. He loved it. He could hardly wait while I explained him something because he was so eager to try it. When he started playing something, he just kept playing it over and over, determined to get it right. I finally stopped him and told him that we had to end the lesson after an hour and a half. He left with a lot of enthusiasm for playing, and he returned that way today. I taught him his first tune, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” today and he had a great time with it. I also showed him something extra about scales. You can check to see whether the G you play on the D string is in tune by playing it with the open G string. He thought that was a pretty neat trick. Now he’s learned about octaves and he’s getting some good ear training, too.

Earlier, when I asked him, as I ask all my adult beginning students, why he wanted to learn to play the violin, he had told me that he had been to Ireland and loved the Irish fiddle playing he heard there. After today’s lesson, I looked around for the easiest Irish tunes I could find. I get tired of “Twinkle” after a while. I found a few simple tunes or simple arrangements of tunes, not all of them Irish, but all of them fun, including Clementine, Michael Row the Boat Ashore, Amazing Grace, John Ryan’s Polka, and Castle of Dromore. Each has its own lessons in musicianship. I decided to play them for him next time and ask him what he wants to try next.

I have a seven year old student who is a really happy kid. She is full of smiles and enthusiasm. When she comes for a lesson, she is so excited that she is jumping up and down for joy. She is quite talented. Her intonation has been almost perfect right from the start, about two months ago. She learned to play “Happy Birthday” for her grandfather’s birthday party, making him and the rest of the family very happy. Now she wants to play “Happy Birthday” for her class at school. Her mother told me that she is impressed because her daughter wants to perform. She also told me that she is so glad that she found me to teach her daughter. The girl doesn’t get stressed when she can’t do something right. She just enjoys every little bit of advancement she makes. This is just what Mom had hoped for. I do love making people happy.

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