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Practice! Practice! Practice!


One of the things most of my kids did while home schooling was to take violin lessons at the public school. I had played for four years when I attended school, so I had a decent understanding of the ins and outs. It started with my girls Annie and Tina in an early morning group session.

My father would drive to our home to watch the boys while I took his car with the girls to the school. I love the sacrifices he made for us. We only had one car at that time. We could never have done this without his help. Being the disciplined mother that I am, I made sure they practiced Monday through Friday for a half hour every day. They sometimes dreaded it. Sometimes I did too because I sat rocking the baby telling them to do it again and again and again. The quick progression on to the next song, then the next book made the hard work worth it. As Hue became old enough, he joined in. Eventually, Abe joined in too. We borrowed all different sizes of violins. The school stop supporting the program but their teacher really enjoyed leading them. She opened an afternoon session at a different school for us and a few others committed to playing. I proudly showed my children's talents off at home school functions. One evening after Ike had just begun playing at five, they played Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star but the older children added in all kinds of fun background and the older boys added percussion using their violins as drums. Our neighbor, a police officer, dropped his son off for me to babysit one day. Earlier he heard all five children practicing different songs at different levels, since our windows were open. When I opened the door, he looked at me and stated, “I heard your kids playing their violins. It sounded pretty bad.” I just laughed. He so pragmatic, I knew he didn’t mean it as an insult. He was stating a fact. I’m sure all those sounds combined didn’t sound the best. The last year they all played, their teacher could no longer lead them. I was forced to hire a violin teacher, who had never worked with a group. I couldn’t afford it any other way. I began to wonder if she even liked kids. We suffered through that year because we always finish what we start, I told the kids and myself. The girls played a beautiful two-part concerto. It was amazing, pride busting my buttons but that was the end. My kids are still very musical and some have picked up other instruments. I’m really glad we all had that experience together and learned to be diligent. It has served them well in life.

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