Getting away with it

14th October 2007

Getting away with it

Why do we let kids learn the violin? In the wrong hands it can be a lethal weapon, an instrument of torture and pain.


Before this seemingly obvious realisation hit us, we decided it would be a great idea to let my daughter learn. She started 2 years ago, and so began the endless parental duty of nagging at her to practice the thing. Knowing where the instrument actually was, proved to be challenging enough most of the time without the extra pain of opening the case and lifting it to her chin.

Last week, we happened to see a scrappy note from the violin teacher on a yellow post-it note, mentioning a performance in assembly. My daughter didn't seem remotely worried.

We nagged. Soon it was the night before the assembly. We nagged more. So she decided to do a couple of minutes playing.. then announced she was tired and that it would 'be ok'. Another lengthy 2 minute practice the next morning and that was it. We presumed she would just be playing in a group and it wouldn't matter anyway, she would be lost in the crowd.

As the kids started to play, it became obvious that there were no groups playing, instead each child was playing solo. Thinking back to my own school assemblies, I had never been anywhere near the front where the teachers sat. To play an instrument on my own would have been unthinkable. I discovered at that moment that my daughter can do things that amaze and surprise me, things that I cannot even do myself.

Suddenly I realised that this was one of those 'lump in the throat' moments of pride that comes with being a parent.