Violin is taking over our lives
I guess I should have seen this coming when we started our third child on violin...
Our journey with violin has been a little unorthodox. Back when M first started (six years ago?!) we found a teacher that didn't want to teach someone so young. But I felt strongly that we needed an outside teacher, so we went with it. One lesson was enough of that, and H took over. He taught M himself for two years, with a lot of input from a friend in the States who teaches. Then E started too and we started having lessons with that friend whenever we were back in the States. The whole process was a little frustrating for the kids and really frustrating for H, but we didn't feel like we had a lot of options, although it was really clear that the girls were making much more progress in their lessons with the friend in the States than they were with H.
Then we were stuck in the States and everything was on Zoom anyway. So that friend became our teacher and we did virtual lessons every week. Around that time, M and H had a violin crisis. It was too much pressure, and it was becoming really bad for their relationship. So I took over. Ha! By the way, the reason it was always H in charge is because he plays violin. In fact, he's a third generation violinist. Me on the other hand, I can't even read music. So anyway, I took over and that ended up being mostly bad because M developped all these bad habits about the way she holds the violin and whatnot and the teacher couldn't really tell because it was on Zoom, and of course I couldn't tell because all I could do was ask if she was trying her best and tell her whether or not it sounded "pretty." But the good thing is that she kept playing and started liking it a little more since her teacher also started teaching her songs from her favorite movies.
Anyway, let me get to the point here. We went to in-person lessons in the States once things were a little calmer with COVID, and the girls started making a lot of progress. And then I suddenly realized that G was already 5. Now the girls, they both had a choice between violin and piano. But when we got to G and I knew what it meant to coach a child through an instrument and the importance of the teacher, there was just no option for him. It was violin and it was now. H was clear that he couldn't handle another kid learning violin so I figured I could do it, anyway it should be easier early on, right? So he started and actually was showing incredible talent. And then we moved to Asia.
So here we were in a new place, three kids playing violin but all kind of in desperate need of some consistent and in-person instruction with someone other than a parent. And wow did that need get met! Our teacher in the States connected us with her coworker's mom who teaches, and it has been so good for us! We didn't see the difference right away, although I have to admit that I think the fact that the teacher uses the local language instead of English did immediately result in less whining from the girls. But over time as they've all three gotten to participate in more "normal" violin activities--recitals, competitions, even an orchestra--we're really starting to see the difference. None of these things are things they've ever gotten to do, either because we were living in a remote place with H as the only teacher or because of COVID when we were in the States. And now, suddenly, it's like violin is not just a weird thing that only they do! They're loving it!
Except. It. Takes. So. Much. Time.
Three violin practices every day. Plus three lessons on the weekend. Plus orchestra practice. And that's not including the occasional special event. I mean, seriously I feel like our entire life revolves around violin. And even though it's been a long time since we started our first kid on violin, all the weird things about the way they were learning in the past has made it so that it never really took as much time as it does now. I mean, the good thing is that it's really clear that everyone is making incredible progress AND enjoying violin a lot more (the girls say orchestra is the "most fun violin has ever been"). I don't know how long we'll be here or where we'll live next, but for now, I think we're all just enjoying the opportunities we have. But I'm not going to lie, H and I are both really looking forward to when they are all more independent with practice!