smart elephant looking for violin teacher to learn open string legato...

April 3, 2008 at 04:51 PM · an elephant, painting!

Replies (23)

April 3, 2008 at 04:52 PM · That has GOT to be a ruse!

April 3, 2008 at 08:48 PM · Just don't truncate your notes.

April 3, 2008 at 10:45 PM · I wish I could play like an elephant. I'd probably have a very powerful sound.

April 4, 2008 at 12:59 AM · An elephant's faithful, one hundred percent...

signed Horton

April 4, 2008 at 01:43 AM · Al,

I just saw the amazing video — so maybe when I studied with Yfrah Neaman in London he wasn't kidding when he would say, "you can teach a monkey to play the violin."

Still don't truncate you bow stoke… and no monkey business!

April 5, 2008 at 02:44 AM · prof drew! travelling and being holed up in a hotel for this weekend for my kid's golf tournament, i find some joy in TRYING to attack your amazing book for the first time since its arrival this week. boy, has that been an uphill battle and humbling experience! i love it. some sentences take me about 5 times to get it (chance are i did not:)! i want to go through it first before showing it to my kid so that i get a better frame/sense on it. i think it is about time for both of us to look at violin playing with better organization and deeper perspective. her playing and my involvement with her playing are like turning on the TV set,,,we watch whatever it is on:):):)

yes, i think that eleplant kid is very special, as shown in that julliard audition tape:). that strong but flexible, steady, gentle bow trunk holds great promise. how big is your studio?:)

April 5, 2008 at 09:27 PM · And an elephant never forgets the music when performing.

April 5, 2008 at 08:47 PM · Al — I have a full herd, or is that heard…:-)

Ray — Great! I can now compliment my students by telling them they play like an elephant:-)))))

April 5, 2008 at 09:27 PM · Great Drew, a legetimate complement to your students. And if they play like an elephant, when you speak they will be all ears.

April 5, 2008 at 09:53 PM · Why did the elephant paint himself different colors?

So he could hide in the crayon box.

April 5, 2008 at 11:26 PM · Wow, I fell for that one, Anne, ha ha!

April 6, 2008 at 03:13 AM · Do elephants have short enough nails to play the violin — we all know they do for the viola, of course:-)

Tusk, tusk…

April 6, 2008 at 03:19 AM · Ray,

My little elephants are having trouble with their bariolage — it's those EARS!!! It's got me over a barrel. Have any suggestions?

April 6, 2008 at 03:46 AM · "That has GOT to be a ruse!"

lol hmmm are you sure?

April 6, 2008 at 04:28 AM · Unfortunately it's a fake. The elephant is being guided by his trainer (who is hiding at the elephant's side). You can see him doing it in different videos.

April 6, 2008 at 04:46 AM · The giveaway is when he signs his name at the bottom.

April 6, 2008 at 05:42 AM · It was thrilling to watch. Right about when it drew the the flower was when it occurred to me that the likelihood that an elephant would represent a flower the same way a human would was pretty slim. That's when I knew it wasn't expressing an original thought, but performing a trained action. But how's that for some good training? I had no idea elephants could be trained to perform such a fine motor skill feat.

It raised a big question in my teaching philosophy. I began to wonder if it was possible to teach my students all the proper technique and right notes so that they sound like perfectly trained monkeys, but nothing more.

It's good to know that no matter how you train a kid, he will always be a human and not a monkey.

Speaking of monkeys, Charlton Heston died. It's a mad house! A mad house!

April 6, 2008 at 06:40 AM · First, thank you Al for sharing this.

Emily, I agree with your observation -- these are highly trained skills.

There's an elephant art gallary:

They are so smart and trainable, and being so well trained, but how??? why am I crying?

April 6, 2008 at 06:52 AM · I saw it before on 20/20. They jam a crude electrode into their brains. It's made out of flashlight parts and a controller from a RC airplane and it's all powered by a guy pedaling a bicycle. We should write to somebody and make them stop it.

April 6, 2008 at 07:09 AM · Jim, I didn't see the 20/20 and I don't have any evidence as to whether there's abuse in this case; it's only a hunch. I was told you have to train dolphin by entire positive reinforcement so this may be the case here, but elephant training in South East Asian has always be very abusive so far as I know.

One thing makes me uneasy is that the man was standing so close to the elephant all the time which indicates to me he was exerting a constant control over each move of the elephant.

April 6, 2008 at 10:55 AM · I-vory much doubt the painting part is a ruse (of course the playing legato part is my extrapolation, seeing how violin bowing, invented by humans, seems inhumanely difficult:).

anything that shows the wonders of the animal planet may be a great parallel or collateral stimulant to inspire kids to be more. research indicates most of us comfortably go through life using less than 10% of our brain power, electrodes or not, jim's 20/20 investigative report or not:)

monkey business? sure, and they never went to high school to learn about specific gravity!

April 6, 2008 at 08:31 PM · "I was told you have to train dolphin by entire positive reinforcement "

That's true. When you smack them they just swim off.

April 6, 2008 at 10:11 PM · Same with training parrots, cats, hamsters, gerbils, and hedgehogs, and my little cat-like dog whose neck is too sensitive to take the softest collar.

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