The box violin

Silas says he wants to learn to play the violin.

That’s not quite true. Silas wants to be able to play the violin. It’s rather like how my friend Linda says she wants to have written. I still have my tiny violin from when I was five, and it fits Silas. He was making me nervous with it, so I made him this box violin to learn to hold the thing. He was into it at first, but pretty quickly realized that it doesn’t make any kind of decent sound.  He tore up parts of it and won’t “practice” with it at all. I can’t blame him, but it is frustrating to see his unwillingness to take any of the intermediary steps. Petra, I know, will be even worse.

I began to learn how to play the violin when I was so young that I really don’t remember much about how to start. It’s not something I’ve ever taught, really, either. I don’t think I’ve taught anything, explicitly, to a child this young before. He doesn’t quite understand that he needs to hold it with his shoulder and chin, because his left hand will be busy with other things. I want to keep it fun, but I don’t want him to learn bad habits that he’ll have to unlearn later. And bow grip! I honestly don’t know where to begin. For now, I’m trying to let him experiment with how to make and change the sound, and reminding myself that it is, really, a very cheap and replaceable instrument (especially the bow, which needs to be replaced anyway). 

Still, we practice while standing on his floor bed for maximum cushioning.


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  1. […] Silas hasn’t ever expressed much interest in drums. He’s much more excited about strings–just today, we got into a fight about whether he was ready to use the bow with my tiny violin […]

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