Hazel Davis and her fella are home-educating their kids. This week she realises her five-year-old may be more mature than she is…
This week will be the oldest child’s third violin lesson. I’ve written before about the joy this idea fills me with. What I never imagined then was how well she would actually take to it. I am learning important lessons about how my children are not just me in tiny(er) forms.
I struggle with practice. I always have. I did a Myers-Briggs test the other day and it unsurprisingly revealed that I want everything immediately with no thought to the theory behind it or the work you have to put into it. No shit.
Anyway. Violin lessons! Based on my own personality type, I really imagined that my child would get the violin, have a lesson, instantly realise that the violin is hard, have a tantrum and not want to play it any more. And it’s literally the world’s tiniest violin. It’s so small, only bats can hear it and it goes out of tune if you look at it for longer than three minutes at a time.
Based on my preconceptions, imagine the face I pulled when the teacher revealed that she wouldn’t be getting a bow on the first week (oh god, she’s never going to want to come back, I thought to myself). And then I sat in the lesson and realised (as I keep having to do) that She Is Not Me.
She listened to everything she was told. She copied the position she was told. She memorised the names of the strings and she even performed a very basic pizzicato (that’s plucking, to the uninitiated) ‘tune’. She was delighted with her progress, came home and practised. And she’s been practising every single day.
“I can honestly say there is no better sound than a bow creaking on a D-string at 8.30am on a Sunday morning. It really is pure bliss.”
Her second lesson came around and she came home beside herself that she was finally allowed to use a bow. Again, she had listened to what she was told and had put it into practice. Madness.
She also appears to be happy with her progress. I remember being distraught that I wasn’t immediately able to play The Four Seasons when I first learned and I never really recovered from that early disappointment. Perhaps my own child is actually more mature than I am.
Part of successful educating is knowing who you’re teaching. Part of my objection to formal schooling is an objection to the one-size-fits-all approach. But I have realised I must also apply this to my own teaching and stop assuming that my children learn the same way I do, or even the same way as each other.
Now, every day when there’s a lull in proceedings, she whips out her violin, pompously rosins her bow and does a spot of Big Ben/Little Ben. And it’s an absolute joy to hear. Anyone who smirks and says in an Adam Buxton voice, “Wouldn’t want to be there when they’re practising,” can do one. I can honestly say there is no better sound than a bow creaking on a D-string at 8.30am on a Sunday morning. It really is pure bliss. And if the rest of the edding goes tits up, at least I know she’s getting a solid 30 minutes a week from a qualified teacher.
In other news, the human body aspect of learning is going down a treat. In the phone shop the other day, the oldest announced to the shop assistant that she had more eggs than she could ever imagine in her womb. #proudface.
Read all of Hazel’s adventures in home edding here.
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Hazel Davis is a freelance writer from West Yorkshire. She has two tiny children but the majority of her hours are taken up with thinking about Alec Baldwin singing sea shanties and the time someone once called her "moreishly interesting".