Finding Her Voice

Author: Elena Rang

Half way through the school year, a new student came to our Pre-K classroom, where I teach twice a week with the Vivaldi Team. While our other students were already playing different rhythms and starting songs on the violin, I took the new student for a private violin lesson to introduce her to the instrument.

First, I let her touch the tiny 1/16 size violin, pluck the strings to let her have an idea of the sounds the instrument made. After that, I showed her how to hold the instrument herself. "Step 1: scratch your shoulder. Step 2: The violin flies in. Step 3: hold it on the body." The violin fell naturally into place and so I introduced to her the basic technique of plucking the strings, called pizzicato. She put her thumb to the corner of the fingerboard and with her index finger, she plucked the strings. Then she asked me if she could sing her own song. I told her she could and I was amazed at what happened next. With her freshly learned pizzicato technique, she accompanied herself singing, "I love my mommy, I love my mo-mmy." It was really adorable to see and listen to. This image has stuck with me and I catch myself smiling every time I think of it.

This is one of my major goals with the Vivaldi Project: I want to give the kids not only the ability to play an instrument, but also to give them a voice, another language with which to express themselves. This student gave the violin a very personal meaning immediately, and this means the world to me!

June 18, 2020