Yesterday was a very big day for our five year old. It was the day we picked up her very first (rented) violin.
She has been asking for several months to be enrolled in violin lessons and we finally agreed this would be her year.
Without getting crazy, we knew renting for a few sessions/months was likely the best way to get a feel for the instrument and to determine if it was going to have any staying power beyond the first lesson when she quickly learns, hmmm, this thing sounds really terrible when played by an amateur.
Over the past month, Ellie has watched a video of an “eleven” year old girl who, among other instruments, plays the violin to the song “Dynomite” by Taio Cruz which sealed the deal. She too is going to rock the violin to pop culture songs and dazzle us all. Okay, but first we need to pick up the violin.
She was fitted by the violin fitter specialist who determined the very smallest violin a 1/8th (1/8th of what will remain unknown but I nodded in agreement with the size selection. Think if the Tinkle-Me-Elmo doll were to play the violin) would still be big for Ellie but if she really stretched and channelled Taio Cruz’s Dynomite, she might have a fighting chance at reaching some screechy chords.
After a series of do’s and don’ts (heavy on the don’ts) from our fitter/rental agreement/bow officer we headed to the mini-van for our journey home but not before Ellie sniffed the rosin one last time.
Ellie had paid particular attention to the perfect temperature and humidity for storage and was quick to push me out of the way to turn every dial on the dashboard back and forth several times. Unable to read what any of the dials represented, she knew she had to bring the temperature up, or down and somehow figure in the proper amount of humidity to help this baby purr. Clearly, the fifteen minute car ride home was going to make or break her violin’s Dynomite destiny.
She asked if she could set the violin on the front seat next to me and further, “Would it be okay to eat crackers in the van while the violin is in here?”
“Yes, I think that’s a reasonable request.” The truth is, there was a lengthy list of things to fear but Wheat Thins weren’t one of them.
When we arrived home she was torn. She complained of having to pee the entire drive home but knew carrying the violin into the house for the first time was going to take patience and strategic thinking to keep it from rocking against the case or heaven forbid hitting a door frame or family member.
She dashed towards the house leaving her special friend behind while screaming, “NOBODY TOUCH MY VIOLIN! I’M PEEING AND I’LL BE RIGHT BACK! DON’T TOUCH IT!!!! H-A-N-N-A!” Slam.
So far she’s performed three times for us. The act of playing doesn’t take quite as long as the careful removal to and from the case but with time, she’ll master that too.
She claims to know how to play “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” (self taught) in just a couple of hours of rental agreement possession but she’s confused. If you listen very closely, beyond the sounds of old chairs being dragged across a torn up hardwood floor, kittens screaming for milk, someone with a keen ear can hear what I’m hearing.