Hazel Davis and her fella are home-educating their kids. This week, violin lessons are in the offing and one family member couldn’t be more excited. Spoiler: it’s Hazel.
My baby daughter (well, five-year-old) is starting violin lessons. Oh. Em. Gee. I might have mentioned before how I was a musical genius who coulda been a contender if she’d only started sooner. Well, maybe not, but I DO genuinely wish I’d had music lessons earlier.
It’s a fine line, though. The oldest genuinely seems musical. She can sing in tune and loves singing and ‘playing’ the family instruments. If she wasn’t I’d have her adopted totally accept it and support her in her dreams, whatever they are as long as they’re to play Annie in the West End.
I’ve tried hard not to project my own dreams onto the children but, frankly, because I’m not a footballer myself, I’m obviously less likely to take them to a match of a weekend and far more likely to book tickets to a show/take them to see my choir perform.
Anyway, she starts violin lessons in September. And it’s bringing up a whole raft of memories. I was way, way older when I was lucky enough to learn violin and I had no concept of practising, as it wasn’t something my family really pressed upon me (see also: any sort of revision or homework. Thanks). As a result I am a mediocre player but one who firmly believes (see above) she could have been the next Nigel Kennedy with the right sort of support.
“I owe it to my children to at least let them learn so they can be resentful for all the time they wasted doing scales rather than resentful of the time they COULD have wasted doing scales.”
You see, I am the world’s most frustrated musician. I do sing and play but I look at REALLY good people and I turn into EL Wisty. I could have had a glittering career in the West End (I couldn’t); I could have been on Top of the Pops (unlikely); I could have played in the Royal Phil (extremely unlikely), but I still always wonder. I could have maybe at least got a poor-quality music degree and been a frustrated music teacher. BUT I WAS DENIED THAT OPTION.
It means I owe it to my children to at least let them learn so they can be resentful for all the time they wasted doing scales rather than resentful of the time they COULD have wasted doing scales.
It might not work out, of course. Or one of them might be brilliant at it and the other one awful. Or we may (will) have to sit through a year of excruciating scratching before we get a hint of Jingle Bells.
But aside from my deep-seated reasons for doing it, there are a few other proper reasons. First of all, science has shown that learning a musical instrument can aid brain development. So there’s that.
Then the teacher is someone we know well and like enormously. We also know her to be an excellent teacher so getting some one-on-one tuition once a week with her is an excellent coup (pretty sure she’s squeezed us into a slot she didn’t really have *fist pump*).
Thirdly, one of the downsides of the whole home-edding thing is that your teacher is also one of your parents. It does mean they’ll avoid the inevitable calling-your-teacher-Mum embarrassment (bit jealous of that, tbh), but it does mean that the twat who wakes you up with a wet flannel in the morning and docks your pocket money is also the same twat who makes you do long division. So having some dedicated time each week with someone who’s not your mum might be a welcome distraction from wall-to-wall olds.
And fourthly, it means I get to get my violin out on the pretext of ‘helping my children’, playing along with Twinkle, Twinkle and getting sneakily better without the neighbours judging me or having to go back and properly learn again. It’s pretty much a win-win.
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".