tales of a girl in the city

juin 13, 2005

Suzuki Method

I learned to play violin on a cardboard box with a ruler taped to it. Because I was very little, the box had a yellow sponge rubberbanded to its underside so I could fit it underneath my chin. I bowed with a stick and there were big, purple footprints laid out on the floor that told me where my feet went. During lessons with my teacher, whose name I can't recall, I stood with my chin on the box and my feet on the purple, putting my small left hand somewhere near the ruler's eighth inch. I had to imagine the music.

My earliest lessons on the violin-box involved memorizing the parts of a real violin. My teacher would point to my cardboard square wrapped in Christmas paper, and let me know what would be there, eventually. Next she'd give me worksheets so that I could label all these parts with my big scrawly handwriting. I filled in the lines over and over again, picturing the smooth, curved pieces as I did. Finally she would hold up the three-quarter sized violin that belonged to her youngest daughter. We pointed to and named all the parts.

"What is this?" she asked.

"The scroll," I said. It was beautiful, a tight swirl, like the shells we looked for on trips.

"And this?"

I touched it. The bridge.

"Be careful," she reminded.

You had to be gentle or it might break off.

"And these? What are they called?"

F-holes. My favorite. You could squint your eyes up to the openings and see the instrument's pale inside. And sometimes, you'd think to try and slip in a hair barrette or a penny.

But you wouldn't dare.

But you'd want to.