Two of my kids – my eldest and my daughter – play violin, but they’re both on a bit of a break now. They need to decide if they want to pick up their violin bows and get back to violin.
Regular readers will know that we’re not a musical family at all. I don’t understand music and nor does my husband. But I like that my kids do music. I think it’s a good skill for them to have, another string to their bow if you like (see what I did there?!).
My eldest soldiered on with his violin from year 3 right until he did his GCSEs. His attitude to playing violin was like his attitude to most of his life – disorganisation mixed with some humour – which, despite the fact that he never practised somehow endeared him to his teacher. He never did any exams, apart from his Grade 1 in year 6, but he worked through the grades anyway, getting to somewhere between Grade 4 and Grade 5 standard. He enjoyed playing. Until GCSE music came along.
GCSE music was one of our worst decisions ever. The school liked them to do an artistic GCSE and as he was terrible at art, but played violin, music seemed like a good choice. It was a really bad choice. It is very, very hard for kids who aren’t musical and aren’t overly interested in music. His violin playing was definitely his strength, but there is also composition and music theory and his heart wasn’t in those, to say the least.
Sadly music GCSE put him off, possibly for good. He had vague ideas of teaching himself up to grade 6 and joining the orchestra at his new school, but it hasn’t happened yet.
And then there’s my daughter. She did her Grade 1 earlier this year and she was sounding pretty good (in my opinion, which admittedly doesn’t count for a lot!). She was pleased with her merit and signed up for violin lessons at her new school. But then we got the invoice. It was eye-wateringly expensive. More than four times as much as she’d paid at her primary school. Playing violin isn’t her main aim in life. We just couldn’t justify the cost.
So she’s on a forced break while we look for more cost-effective lessons. She wants to keep playing. Hopefully she will get back to violin very soon.
This is a collaborative post.