Monday, October 24, 2011

On the variety of joys your kids bring you

Like many people, I have a few dreams in life I have yet to fulfill, such as learning to speak French, playing violin, visiting the Fiji Islands and weighing 110 pounds. Someday, I might get around to them (although the weighing 110 pounds one isn't gonna happen unless carbs and cheese go out of business). These days, I'm living vicariously through Sabrina's violin playing.

She started a few months ago and with each screech-screech-screech she makes during practice, my heart soars. She has played violin for every person who stops by our house, except for the mailman. "Listen, Mommy!" she'll say, and she'll eek out Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. The only hazard so far has been that she practices rhythm by repeatedly chanting "El-e-va-tor op-e-ra-tor" and those words run through my mind at random times, like work meetings or as I'm trying to fall asleep.

Overall, her playing has brought me much bliss. It's made me realize the different kinds of joys you can get out of your children; this is the first time one of the kids is doing something I've wanted to do. [El-e-va-tor op-e-ra-tor] Sabrina's learning by the Suzuki method, which in the early years emphasizes learning music by ear over reading notes. That's how I learned to play piano as a kid, and the CD she listens to at night has many of the same pieces that were on the first Suzuki 33 album I ever played.

Today was her first violin recital. Max had been invited to go pumpkin picking on a farm, and Dave and I decided he would have a better time doing that then hanging at the recital. Dave went with Max, I hung with Sabrina. I was bummed that Dave wasn't there to enjoy this, so I took eleventy thousand pictures for him. I just got an Olympus Pen E-PM1, part of the Pen Ready project, and I've been having a blast with it. [El-e-va-tor op-e-ra-tor]

Sabrina seemed maybe a little nervous. She dragged me out into the hallway during intermission for an impromptu practice, and she did a nice job.

She waxed her bow like a pro.

Watch out, Yo-Yo Ma! [El-e-va-tor op-e-ra-tor]

I had, truth, wondered whether Sabrina would get up there and not do anything, which is what happened with her ballet recital at age 3. She stood onstage as all the other girls danced around her, stared serenely into the crowd and did not move a muscle except to blink (other than when she took a bow). "How come you didn't move?" I asked her afterward. "Because I didn't dance," she said, wisely.

But when her teacher, Miss Chelsea, called her name, Sabrina bounded up on stage...and somehow coaxed Miss Chelsea into coming along with her. [El-e-va-tor op-e-ra-tor] And then she did a great job, serene and self possessed.

I am not a stage mom; if Sabrina ends up quitting, so be it. Meanwhile, I am loving it and living violin through her. I take pride in—and get joy from—Max in other ways, everything from his hard-won victories to his surplus of charm. His giggles are so enchanting they could be the solution to world peace.

Really, though, there's no comparing. I have two children who both have special gifts—and who both bring me special joys.

[El-e-va-tor op-e-ra-tor]


  1. Yeah! Congratulations Sabrina! That takes a lot of courage and you look so poised and sounded wonderful. I'm a piano teacher and the El-e-va-tor- Op-er-a-tor is new to me but I'm totally going to take it now that your mom has it stuck in my head. Keep up the great work!

  2. You did great Sabrina I am SO PROUD of you I'm 20 and I have stage fright you have more courage me :)

  3. Priceless! Sabrina looks SO grown up and her courage is very inspiring. I played piano as a kid and always hoped my child would as well. I'm not sure that will happen with Malayna's right hand being affected but she does a pretty good job on her iPad piano keyboard!

  4. Great job! She looks so cute in girly outfits too. :)

  5. I am beaming with pride!! I just played the video at work and I hope everyone heard it. She looked and sounded great.

  6. Congrats to Sabrina! I was in choir in junior high and understand all that stage fright!

  7. Love this. And look at Sabrina in a dress! :)

  8. Awesome. I don't know much about the Suzuki method. But, it sounds like it is working for your daughter. My son started cello. He loves it. I was worried about the size of the instrument. I still think that one of us will step on it or drop it or mash it in the van doors. But, my son loves it. For as many times as I lament that he doesn't listen when it comes to the cello, he has learned so much since last month. Now if I could only get him to listen to me about how he should Swiffer the floor!

  9. Excellent job Sabrina! You look beautiful too. I always wanted to take violin lessons, but I was terrible at piano--refused to practice. Now, I am mad at myself.

    Go Sabrina, GO!

  10. Congrats, Sabrina - that was great! Seeing her play reminded me of one of my favorite movies, "Music of the Heart" starring Meryl Streep. Seeing that movie made me love hearing the violin. :)

  11. Knowledge of music is a tremendous gift to give your children, and it will be useful for the rest of their lives.

  12. Isn't she beautiful and wonderful! She did a great job, too! Oh, you must be so proud!!! Tell her that we're all very impressed!!!

  13. I love that you included that video clip.

    She is LOVELY!!!!!!!!

  14. I know! I was just so proud of her.

    Janet and Melanie, this may be the last time in a long while that you will see her in a dress. She only did because Miss Chelsea ASKED!

    Jill, cello is so beautiful—how cool he is playing it! IF you ever discover the secret to getting your children to Swiffer the floor, you should patent it.

    Amy, you can join me in violin lessons, though I think I may have to wait until retirement and/or the kids learn how to Swiffer the floor. I suspect retirement will come first.

    Sabrina, I've never seen that movie, will add to my list of movies to watch.

    And Rachael, I totally agree. Max is actually fascinated by the violin music. For his birthday, I am getting him a boombox and some classical music CDs. I am having a heck of a time finding anyone who has a decent quality boombox in purple.

  15. Lovely! But wasn't there a bow at the end? I thought Suzuki students always bowed--and i loved that part.

  16. BW akaBarbara from BostonOctober 25, 2011 at 2:21 AM

    Bravo,Sabrina! Hope Mommy shares this entry with you(maybe minus a few el-e-va-tors). She is so proud of you, big girl. you did a grand job.

  17. Oh my...that's me! O__O
    Same instrument (a quarter right?), same age, same *piece*, plus ponytails, minus the fancy zebra dress and a much less fancy violin case.
    We also used to make group concerts, marching around.
    Picture: 10 to 15 Sabrinas all screeching toghether ;)

  18. Oh my gosh!!!

    (First of all, shout out to the carbs & the cheese!)

    I took violin lessons as a child (Go Suzuki!!) and got chills as I watched this! Sadly, I quit when I was in the 7th grade, and have regretted it for years.

    My cat Madeline used to HATE it when I would practice b/c either I was really bad or it hurt her ears (or both). She would slyly walk up to me as I was practicing and BITE MY ANKLES! hahaha--ahh...good times.

    The thing that struck me so much as I watched this video was Sabrina's pinky finger! I used to hold it up when I would hold my violin, too! My teacher would scold me and try to push it down. But I just could never do it! I told her it was how I made violin playing fancy, ala British tea drinking.


  19. Oh ~ yay, Sabrina!

    I played the violin (started Suzuki) for 12 years and when I finally decided to stop, my parents praised me with a "Thank GOD! We thought you'd never quit!!!!' Alas, violin was not my instrument.

    Now, with Cate at age 3, I wonder if she'll choose the violin like Mommy (please, NO!) or the trumpet like Daddy, who actually had talent (and eventually, Mommy did,too) or maybe even piano (another Daddy talent.).

    With my luck, she'll choose the drums...

    In any case, go Sabrina... keep that [el-e-va-tor] music going!


Thanks for sharing!

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