Bouncy Boy’s ear

Bouncy Boy has an ear. Well, he has two ears, actually, but what I mean is, he has an Ear. He has perfect pitch. The real deal. Ask him to sing an A and he will produce 440 Hz, pure and true, every time. And now that he knows the names of other notes, he can sing them on demand as well. Last night his sister made a balloon squeak in the next room, and he off-handedly commented that it was an F sharp.

He started Suzuki violin lessons this fall, and even aside from the Ear, he has incredible musical aptitude. He is grasping concepts of rhythm and note-reading effortlessly. Violin technique is coming easily to him, too. His bow arm is fantastic, his left hand position is “scrumptious” (his teacher’s word, not mine), and he intuitively corrects his own intonation. Furthermore, he loves it. He counts the days until his next lesson, and practices with good will.

He practices with good will (most of the time, anyway) because I take great care to structure his practice sessions so that he can be successful. Because the thing is, Bouncy Boy also has ADHD-ish issues, and it is very hard for him to stay focused on an endeavor like this. I have discovered that for BB, the magic number is three. That’s all. Just three. I can ask him to play Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star three times in a row. If I ask him to play it four times, or god forbid five, he will melt down. So I break it down into smaller pieces. I ask him to play the separate phrases of Twinkle three times each — no prob. Then I ask him to play the whole Twinkle three times — again, no prob. So he’s actually played Twinkle six times, but he just doesn’t realize it. And then we do it again with a different rhythm. So ultimately he is getting quite a bit of Twinkle in there. I just have to be soooo careful about how I get him to do it. And it is working. He is making good progress; his teacher is delighted and so am I.

Delighted, but. There is a poignant side to this as well. Bouncy Boy loves playing the violin. He wants to do this. I mean, it’s one thing if ADHD-ish issues get in the way of something he might not care about anyway, like finishing worksheets in school, but when it affects something he cares so deeply about… it hurts. That is why I am so damn grateful for his Ear. Anything that makes it a little easier, that gives him a leg up, is fine by me.

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About Daxie

I walk the dog, volunteer on the PTO, read obsessively, work freelance, and try to make sense of this crazy world.
This entry was posted in Parenting, Suzuki violin and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Bouncy Boy’s ear

  1. Isn’t it wonderful when your child is struggling to find something at which they excel? I sincerely empathize with the hurt you feel for him when his attentional issues interfere with his pursuit of music. However, perhaps it is possible to look at this from a positive perspective? What if his love for music motivates him to develop both the self-awareness and the coping strategies necessary to pursue music? Then, once he knows he can to that for music, he can expand those strategies to other subject matter. (Besides that, people who are good with music are often good with math and languages.)

    It’s just a thought….

  2. Daxie says:

    Oh yes indeed! I didn’t start him on violin because of his love of music, but because music lessons (Suzuki-style, anyway) build character and develop exactly the self-awareness and coping strategies you mentioned. As far as I’m concerned, his musical aptitude is just icing on the cake.

    And I do appreciate your point. Usually I stay pretty positive, but there are times when it does make me sad.

    Ok, enough of that. Chin up! :-)

  3. WOBBLY says:

    I enjoyed reading about your son. I have a feeling that my boy also has ADHD. He is 3. He has always appeared to love music, and tends to get a bit out of his drum. I have thought he had rythm from the moment he had his drum – he even knew immediately how to hold the drum sticks.(it didnt look awkward)
    I am looking for a drum class for a little one his age- to no luck.
    The reason I found your post was, my son tells me daily, “I am so bouncy”. I think he is trying to tell me something.

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