A Violin Teacher Recognizes the Strengths in her Pupils (June 2003)
by Rhiannon Nachbaur of Award-Winning Fiddleheads Violin Studio
As a teacher I am fascinated by exceptional actions of children and youths every day. Various moments over the past year have left a lasting impression for me. For me, these moments offer precious insights into the manifestation of life’s virtues.
Emily leaps up the stairs with her violin, her face flushed from a track meet. She’s exhausted, yet focuses on her lesson with impressive stamina. Alana dreads the heap of homework lurking ominously in her pack. Still, she concentrates on her music and an upcoming festival performance, where she ultimately earns a “Gold.” Flynn strives for weeks to make her “trill” sound like a bird. She glows with delight when she finally masters it! Felicia practices an incredible 7 times each week, surpassing everyone’s expectations.
Rory hits the high "D" of a Mozart quartet with apparent ease, playing with the maturity and musicality of an older violinist. Now Braya plays, dancing and swaying dramatically. It’s only an A Major scale, but to her it’s a Tchaikovsky ballet! Savannah never thought she’d ever memorize music. Currently she knows most of her pieces “by heart,” but better yet, plays them from the heart.
Taylor “R” is progressing so quickly it nearly brings her mother, a violinist herself, teary-eyed with pride. Julia and Rachel learn several pages of new music each week. Their natural skill and love of music is inspiring. Each rehearsal Amy patiently assists the beginners, and then motivates them with her vigorous playing. She has the makings of a fine teacher.
Charlotte and Elizabeth have never played in public and Jennica’s almost sick with nervousness. Still, these spirited young ladies ignore their unnerving fears and earn First Place in their respective fiddle contest categories. Kaitlyn, Fiddlesticks’ newest member, has the intimidating first solo of the rehearsal and pulls it off with remarkable confidence.
Four-year old Madison creatively adds a spooky “tremolo” sound to the end of a scary song and the whole class snickers. Taylor “B” fidgets with the tiny screws on her violin until it is tuned. She started only 9 months ago and has already perfected this tricky skill. Reynan stages an exclusive concert for her infant sister. She grins over her chinrest as the baby adds endearing cooing sounds to the mix.
Piper faithfully practices her favourite tune, “Purple Monsters,” with her Grandma every week. These two women, a generation between them, learn the violin as peers. Paul and Katerina scrap like any other brother and sister. But with their violins under their chins, these siblings create beautiful harmony. My 2½-year-old son, Ryan, totes his violin to rehearsals hoping to bow a couple notes with his friends, my students.
I am grateful to do what I do and to be included in the lives of these and many other wonderful people. Thank you for these cherished moments and for these and many other virtues you have shown me.