As you can see, Mace has chosen an instrument. He started suzuki violin lessons three weeks ago. How he came to be playing the violin is really a blog post in itself, but suffice it to say that our family’s hammered dulcimer duo needs a violin to round it out a bit. So yes, I did lead the child a little bit by showing him this youtube video. Flamingo Joe wasn’t too happy with the choice of instrument and wanted to know why Mace couldn’t just play the guitar. I think I won that debate by pointing out that guitar scholarships to college are extremely rare, but violin scholarships are plentiful.
I have no idea if that is true, but I sounded like I knew it was true and because Flamingo Joe could not offer up any real evidence to the contrary, Mace is now taking individual and group lessons on Wednesday afternoons. Law school was totally worth it.
Regardless, Mace is really very excited about having his own instrument and is doing fine with his lessons. During his first lesson, he learned all the parts of the violin, how to take care of it, and how to hold the bow. During his second lesson, he learned a rhythm his teacher calls “Mississippi Stop Stop.” The rhythm is four eighth notes and two quarter notes. To get the rhythm right, clap all of the syllables of the phrase “Mississippi Stop Stop.” So for two individual and group lessons, Mace has been playing “Mississippi Stop Stop” on the E string. He got to add the A string at his last lesson, but still only plays “Mississippi Stop Stop.”
That one measure of one note is all Mace plays so far, but to him it’s a real song that he calls “Mississippi Stop Stop.”
We practice it diligently every day.
Sometimes, Mace gets out his violin and asks Casey to play with him on the hammered dulcimer. So Casey obligingly gets out his hammers and plays one measure of “Mississippi Stop Stop” on E over and over again and then they switch to A. They just play one note together over and over in the right rhythm.
It’s his song, that one measure on E, and then maybe on A if the spirit moves.
While the kids were playing on the computers tonight after dinner, I practiced the dulcimer for awhile and then sat down at my laptop so that I could pull up videos of real dulcimer players playing. Click here for a lovely version of Little Drummer Boy on the hammered dulcimer.
I probably listened to four or five songs in a row. Mace was sitting near me at the table with a different laptop playing Minecraft, but every few minutes, he would get up, walk over and climb into my lap to watch the videos. Then he would go back to playing Minecraft.
Eventually, after a particularly beautiful and intricate song ended, he looked at me with his little eyebrows raised as if he’d just thought of something wonderful, put his finger in the air and asked, “Do they have ‘Mississippi Stop Stop’ on there? ‘Cause that might be really good!”