Owing to the fact that Thanksgiving is this week and that my son’s violin lessons are normally scheduled for Thursday and Thanksgiving always falls on Thursday… We decided to take his violin teacher up on her offer and meet this afternoon for a lesson. He and I arrived at the school, sans his book since it was in the back of my other car which I had lent to Wilma (pray, waiting…). That’s OK, though, since we had his violin and that ought to be enough. Of course my son, although possessed of a natural talent with his instrument and music in general, is a bit on the lethargic side when it comes to the actual lesson and devoting himself to, how do I say this, actually taking the lesson without bounding around like a schizophrenic kangaroo at open mic night at the Improv. In short, I think because he picks up the material so quickly and commits it to memory (kind of like his old man) he’s almost bored with the lesson. He neglects to realize that the repetition of the practice is very important to keeping good form.
I sometimes think his teacher wonders if he is naturally like this or if he just does this as some part of show for her, his wacky antics. Take for example the time when she asked him to demonstrate a good bow hold by holding the bow upright in front of him. Oh he did that all right. Then he tapped her on the forehead with it and announced he was casting a spell on her. She laughed and then he proceeded to tell her all about the most recent episode of Modern Marvels he watched and how his bow sort of reminds him of the engineering mechanism of a suspension bridge.
I think her question was answered tonight. The lessons are held in the very Montessori school where my son spends his school days. Normally we sit down in the anteroom or “receiving room” as they say in Montessori parlance. Tonight, due to some contracting work being done in the receiving room we took our lesson in the “casa”, another Montessori term to refer to the actual schoolroom (the “house” of learning). Unfortunately, this meant that there were all sorts of fun “manipulatives” lying around. What are they, you ask? Basically, they are every little thing that
can be picked up and played with students can learn from.
I took my seat. My son assumed rest position and prepared for his bow. I glanced down at the shelf next to me and spotted a longish, curved, wood carving painted bright yellow. I picked it up. I knew I shouldn’t be doing what I was about to do but I had to do it anyway. I picked it up. I turned to my son. And I said…
“Would you like a banana?”
He paused for a moment, unsure of what to do. And then he let loose. We both cracked up. His teacher looked over with a “gee, thanks” look on her face. It’s OK. He composed himself quickly. And then he broke that composure to reach over and grab another piece of wood off the shelf. “Daddy? Would you like an orange?” We spent the next few moments laughing as his teacher glared at us wondering why she had bothered coming in for this one. Don’t worry, he played the piece just fine. What?! Don’t judge me. I couldn’t turn up the chance to make my boy laugh. LOL.