Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Yesterday my wife and I visited a trial violin lesson with our son ( 2 years and 4 months old ). He appears to love music and have a good feeling for rhythm, and since unlike his sister he does not attend any afterschool activities we thought of trying this course, given at the local 'Matnas' ( Center for Culture, Youth and Sport ). This is a course that follows the teachings of Shinichi Suzuki ( "music as mothertongue" ). I was sure that E., our son, is way too young for this - my wife was even less enthusiastic than I, she hates the violin as long as it is not being played by someone on the level of Yitzhak Perlman - (*), but we heard very good stories about the person who teaches here, and wow, I am certainly not disappointed.
Although our son does not really speak yet ( i.e. he speaks, but you have to know him very well in order to understand ) he communicated perfectly with Moshe, the teacher. Moshe is strict and teaches his pupils discipline but in a very child-friendly way ( he is not 'Russian'; 'Russian' - music - teachers are known for their harsh discipline and high demands, something which does not go very well with most Israeli children), and E. was mesmerized for a full 30 minutes, following Moshe's instructions. E. was visibly happy when at the end Moshe played him a little tune while he himself held the 1/16 children's violin, and he did not stop talking about the experience on our way home. We registered him for the course, and we will see if in another month or so he will still like it as much. If he does, do remember the name E. Bar-On/de Bruin, and don't forget that you heard the name for the first time on his father's blog. (*) The last thing that we want is to push our children into anything that they do not really want themselves. One of the other three parents whose children were in Moshe's class yesterday was quite pushy and annoying, answering all the questions before any of the children ( Moshe put her in her place in a very friendly but effective way ) and writing down ever single world that Moshe said. Still, as far as we know ( and as far as the courses given at our local Matnas are concerned ) this is the only musical instrument which you can learn at such an early age, and we might as well try it as long as E. seems to enjoy it. The course is not very expensive, 80 shekel ( about 14 Euro ) a month for one weekly lesson of 30 minutes, plus 20 shekel ( 3.5 Euro ) a month to rent a children's violin. For a nice and informative website ( in Dutch ) of a Belgian Suzuki-violin teacher click here.
I forgot to mention that the Matnas in the small city where I live with my family is very active, and offers many excellent children's courses in arts, sports, music etc. Many communities in Europe would love to have a music centre as beautiful and well-equiped as the one where our son had his first violin lesson yesterday.

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