Violin Grasshopper

I’m acquainted with a seven-year-old who has been playing the violin for a few months.  I’ve talked about my passion for the violin with him and his dad on several occasions – once I even helped them through a broken string crisis.  So we’re kind of violin buddies. On Thursday, his dad asked me if he could come and play for me, a “mini-concert” per the homework instructions of his violin teacher.  I was tickled and obviously consented to the show. Dad promised Mary Had a Little Lamb and the like, so I knew where to set expectations.  On Friday, he came early for his karate classes and I and a few others who happened to be around sat down to listen.

I asked him to tell us who his teacher is – he takes lessons at his parochial elementary school – and to tell us what he was going to play.  After his brief introduction, he shouldered his violin, a half-sized rental with finger markers, and played.  The program was brief – Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  He shared that it’s his hardest song.   We clapped in adulation.  One listener commented, “You hit all the notes!”  Dad recorded the performance on his cell phone.

You don’t learn the violin without learning to play Twinkle Twinkle.  Predictably, my young friend’s concert got me thinking about my own beginnings – back in October of 2013 in my blog post reporting out on my very first lesson I noted that I learned Twinkle Twinkle and a couple of rhythmic variations of the song.  I kept playing it, too – I warmed up with those Suzuki Twinkle variations for a long time.  According to my old posts it seems I gave up Twinkle and started warming up with scales about nine months into playing!

Over the years, I’ve bonded with a decent number of kids over their violin and other types of music lessons.  As with adults, I find the subject to be a great way to explore our shared humanity.  Unsurprisingly to anyone who knows kids, I’m inevitably much more excited about the instrument and our shared pursuit than they are.  But you never know – perhaps I’ll get another concert out of this young fellow in the future.

Thanks for reading.



  1. Julie Libel · · Reply

    Very sweet, Ryan. You’re always so encouraging to young people in the pursuit of their talents & studies! Love you.

  2. Kristen Doty · · Reply

    Well isn’t that fun?! Good luck to your violin buddy in all of his music endeavors!

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