Monday, July 30, 2012

We Went to the Homeschool Expo - Part 1

Happiness is a thing to be practiced, like the violin.
~John Lubbock

We went to the Homeschool Expo on Friday and…my daughter came home with a new instrument, my husband came home with a new hobby, and I came home broke having spent way, way, way over (yes, three times over) my homeschool budget and I had not bought the one thing I think I would like to get for this year.

The Princess' New Instrument

I was half hoping and half dreading that one certain vendor would be at this year's Expo. I had been first introduced to the vendor at the very first Expo to which we went when the Princess was four. She had just started piano and I felt that although she wanted to play the violin (I even wanted her to play the violin) starting another instrument right then, particularly with a self-teaching program was too much for us both.

The Violin Book® people were in a nice big booth and my daughter was completely mesmerized by every word the husband of the program's creator spoke as she was be fitted for a violin to hold as he demonstrated without any hands to get the shoulder rest adjusted. The program starts out very slowly for even the youngest of beginners with just the correct stance, stage presence, and building the muscles to properly hold the violin and bow. The scope of it reminds me of the piano program with which she started at the age of four, Music for Little Mozarts, but for violin and not as fancy or colorful. It provides a great deal of attention to details and it moves very slowly at the beginning.

She will breeze through some areas because of her seven years of music theory, but the techniques will take practice. The entire package with a ¾ violin with case and necessary accessories, the eight lesson books, plus extras like the Christmas books package and an adjustable shoulder rest was under $600. Not much under, mind you, but we saved on shipping and it makes me feel a bit better to say it that way. We will still have to get a music stand and I am thinking Christmas. I am also thinking how in the world are we going to add this into our very full schedule of lesson plans, so we need to have a sit down talk about things like that.

In the meantime, the child is in four-string heaven. She loves it. She has hugged me several times thanking me. It is going to be worth every penny spent and putting off getting debt-free, I think, I hope.

I also keep thinking of the guitar that has been placed to the wayside, but if I find a self-teaching program for that, maybe she would pick it up also. I found a couple free online, so there is hope that it will also have the dust blown off of it more often now, although tuning is a big challenge for her. Anyway, I am hoping that learning the violin will help develop her ear as she could be better with her ear training.

The Princess has wanted to play four instruments from the beginning: piano, guitar, violin, and flute. The closest thing she has to a flute is a plastic recorder that a friend gave her and I suppose I should find some music for the online as well.

As for me, I like my 12-sting guitar, but a little finger injury from years ago left a deep scar right on the tip of the finger making rather painful and challenging to play and there are times I would like just a 6-sting. I also have a thing for folk instruments with a Celtic sound like the bowed psaltery my husband gave me for Christmas a few years ago and the ocarina I bought myself at the Medieval Fair a few weeks ago. There is something so lovely in the simplicity of playing one note at a time fluttered and bent in the Celtic style. My aunt has been playing the hammered dulcimer and I love Celtic music played with that instrument so much. She even took lessons under Mark Alan Wade, a well-known dulcimer player with six albums so far.

I have more to share on our Homeschool Expo experience, so come back tomorrow!

~ My Lord, thank you for providing so that we could buy this violin for our daughter. She and I both need anointing with Your gift in music. I asked that You continue her interest in these instruments, but also in her own voice. ~


  1. And so it begins....

    The good news is that each instrument is easier than the last. The theory remains the same but fingering etc is picked up quickly.

    Star has not quite given all her instruments away but they hold her in good stead with her singing.

    1. The Princess is over-anxious about breezing through the first violin lessons and is not adhering to directions, which are important to get the muscle training. So, again, last night her father and I explained the reasoning and are insisting she do each lesson for five days as it is stated in the instructions. I think she will pick it up quickly and we may all live through it also!

      I have been wondering if Star was still taking lessons on any of the instruments with her busy singing schedule. Do tell...


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