It is the start of a new year and I am creating a new program for the upper elementary students at The Parish School. We are spending the next three months learning about each orchestral instrument, culminating in attending a concert to see the instruments played by live musicians. (I am going to surprise the students of our concert in February. Shh!) The focus of this musical adventure is for students to learn how instruments are different, just like people, and how they work together to make beautiful music as we work together in a community.
To start, I picked the instrument I have experience playing: the violin. I have played the violin in orchestras since I was in middle school through high school, college, and in the community. I brought my violin to school and students learned about the different parts of the violin. It has a body, neck, and chin, just like us and the bow is made of horse hair that we do not touch. When I was explaining the f-holes, J. Alligators said “It looks like a mustache!” I never thought about a violin having facial hair!
Because of a generous donation, The Parish School owns a violin. The Alligators and Explorers had the opportunity to learn how to hold a violin under their chin whilst on their shoulder with an extended left arm. The static position is hard for students as it may be the first time they ever had something between their chin and shoulder or having their arm extended where their elbow was not touching their body.
All the students were really excited to try the violin and play their own song on it. We listened to “Spring” by Vivaldi and heard the violins playing. I also played several tunes, including Happy Birthday as it was Z. Alligator’s special day.
C. Alligators said with a big smile, “I played a real violin. Not a toy one. A real one!”
A.M. Explorers sighed, “It’s so beautiful.”
E. Explorers said, “I already know how to play because I tried out violins in a store.”