We are very lucky to send our kids to a private school that has compulsory violin lessons for children in year 3. I say the term ‘lucky’ pretty loosely, because if you have ever been exposed to a novice playing the violin for the very first time, you will know it resembles the sound of a cat being skinned alive.

Our youngest son brought home his violin yesterday and with great enthusiasm and flourish proceeded to ‘play’ it for us. His sisters then each had a turn in playing the violin. Here is the sad thing – each of the girls has already had their year of violin tuition yet not one of them could remember how to play a single tune! I guess I should confess that I too had a turn of playing and managed to screech out my own rendition of ‘Mary had a little lamb’.

I really do love music and most of our kids play a musical instrument, so whilst it is torture to listen to the violin being practiced for a year, it does pave the way forward for the kids to have an appreciation for music. Thankfully next year our son will have to choose a band instrument to play, so we just have to cross our fingers he won’t choose a tuba or French horn! One of our daughters plays the trumpet which is an extremely loud instrument to have to listen to whilst she practices. For Christmas she got an electronic mute, where she can play with headphones on and only she has to listen to it. She was really excited about receiving this gift (but only half as excited as we were).

The school music program is amazing and somehow over the period of a year, they manage to get all the kids playing basic violin. Some of the kids will even have a level of skill to continue with their tuition and will join a string ensemble. By the time they get into high school, the senior string ensemble sounds like a professional symphony. I guess, as with every thing in life, we all have to start somewhere. I just might have to wear my noise cancelling headphones around the house for the next few weeks, whilst my son fiddles with his violin!



(Picture courtesy of bigjom,