Thursday, December 09, 2010

maybe if I got some really good ear plugs

One night, a few months ago, Charlie and I rented the movie August Rush.

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(It was a great movie, that I highly recommend.)

Before we returned it, I let the children watch portions of the film and they were totally enthralled. Seeing as our children love to dress up and pretend, they wasted no time suiting up like the main characters.

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Long before we had children, our house has always been full of music. Whether by music we are playing on the stereo, or music that Charlie is creating as he strums his guitars. Or me, walking around and imagining I'm Julie Andrews.

Yesterday, a local middle school performed a Christmas concert in the middle of my office.

There were at least 20 children, playing violins, violas, cellos and one brave boy playing the bass. When I arrived they were squeaking out Jingle Bells and it felt like my ears might bleed. I couldn't help but think about the Suzuki music lessons I'd almost signed our children up for when they were only four-years-old. "Thank goodness you never followed up on THAT crazy idea!" I snickered aloud as I imagined the men in white coats coming to cart me off to the sanitarium after being subjected to four-year-old triplets practicing their "music."

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But then, the stringed orchestra broke in to the most beautiful rendition of Gloria In Excelsis Deo I've ever heard in my life and my eyes immediately began to overflow. It made me rethink my whole stance on young children and music lessons and maybe I should sign them up TODAY.

Why, we could have a bona fide quartet and what a wonderful treasure to have a house full of sweet children playing music!

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In truth, I don't know if I have the patience to get to the point where they actually sound good. My fear is that I'd go so nuts with all the noise sQueAkiNG noise, I'd wind up using itty bitty violins as kindling.

11 comments:

  1. Very cute.
    Why not start them on piano... of all the instruments, it's probably the least offensive when played by beginners, and very flexible for long-term.
    We do have one violin player in our house... my 13 year old, who started on piano in 1st grade and switched to violin in 5th. It took probably a good year and a half to 2 years before I stopped cringing when she'd practice violin, whereas my 6 year old has been playing piano for 3 months and he sounds lovely.

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  2. Our kids are lucky to start music in 4th grade in our district (playing instruments). My oldest in now in 7th -- she played viola, trumpet, trumpet, french horn as the years progressed. We just had our first middle school concert tonight. HOLY AMAZING BATMAN....they were fabulous! Someone at the state level needs to hear them and then decide about budget cuts; music is so important.

    But I do own some nice ear plugs for the learning process.

    ***Did I mention that my 5th grader (who did chorus last year) is playing trumpet? He's an athlete, um, not a musician. BUT he's trying.

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  3. Suzuki ruled at our house for many years. He listened to records, then practiced with his little violin, played in a group which was always fun for they played until they didn't know the song, sat down and so it went until there were only 3 or 4 standing...and suddenly he was one of the 3 or 4 left standing!

    By sixth grade he was the top violinist in our school district and I never listened to him play without tears streaming down my face.

    I'm a firm believer in this method. The first years do squeak some, but the joy that comes when the music flows is worth every cent for the lessons, and the cringing at the wrong notes played in the beginning.

    He had a huge group of friends in suzuki and they all were talented musicians as they grew up.

    My son's violin was his ticket to college with scholarships...so I, of course, am a strong supporter of the method.

    Today, at age 45, as a pastor, he often plays for worship, has taught violin for several years, and still thrills his old mother's heart any time I hear him play. Its a wonderful musical instrument--beautiful and rich in tone, and blended with others, I do not think the sound can be matched this side of Heaven.

    Guess you know how I feel about violins!

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  4. LOL! I played the cello when I was in 6th grade... until my mom asked me to please stop.

    I don't know anything about the Suzuki program, but my kids are in Kindermusik classes and we LOVE them. No ear bleeding yet, either. :)

    Cheers,
    Sarah

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  5. I LOVE the movie "August Rush!" It is my all-time favorite feel-good movie. As a child whose parents suffered through the squeeking and sqwaking of viola practice on a daily basis -- they were so glad they did and so was I! I loved playing a stringed instrument and did so from the time I was 8 years old until I had to have carpal tunnel surgery at the age of 30 (work related, not instrument-playing related). It is the most wonderful gift you can give your children and it will enhance so many other areas of their lives, as well.

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  6. When my twins were in Kindergarten we started them in piano lessons (we don't even have a piano, we just bought a piano sized keyboard). My husband and I are not musical and I wanted them exposed to some sort of music. The piano lessons are great...they are learning all about notes, basic music info., etc...and all of that knowledge can be "transferred" to another instrument if they would like to play something else in jr. high or high school. They love playing and have never complained about practicing or asked to quit. Overall it's been a great experience and I'm glad we did it!

    Kelly(Houston)

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  7. I have often wondered if I would not have a similar problem if I signed Zack up for music lessons. Perhaps some really good ear plugs would be the perfect solution. :-)

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  8. Completely random, but have you seen Music of the Heart? It's a great movie with Meryl Streep based on a true story. A fantastic violin movie.

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  9. 1) ear plugs
    2) rent different instruments from your local music store because they all may like something different.
    3) See if your local school district has a music program to help provide extra practice time AT SCHOOL.

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  10. Go with piano. No squeaking. It is what my mom did. She even bought a good electric piano (not a keyboard, an electric piano with weighted keys and all) that had an headphones jack. That way when we played the same 10 measures over and over and over and over and over she didn't have to listen. :)

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  11. I just came across this clip and figured it was the perfect solution to indulging their love of music while also protecting your ear drums. http://www.choralnet.org/view/268945

    (be sure to watch the last couple of seconds, it is really cute)

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