A Teaching Moment

A couple of days ago, I had the opportunity to work with a teenager who is going through an addiction recovery program.  No, not for drugs or alcohol…but for internet/gaming addictions.

The remarkable thing about this boy is he is an amazing violinist.

Part of his therapy during his 40-day program, is he is supposed to explore his hobbies more.  And being the musician he is, his therapist asked me if I would spend an hour with him to show him my music studio and teach him a little bit about composing.

I really had no idea what I was going to do while he was here.  I just assumed that things would come to me naturally, as they do when I am teaching a piano lesson.

I found that after 10 minutes of showing him my studio (it was a quick tour since he is not supposed to be on the computer, which is a large portion of my studio and what I do and how I create music), I didn’t have a clue of what I was going to do next. 

Well, actually composing something would be a good next step.

I ran into a dilemma – being that I had never actually composed anything on the violin before, myself.  Even though I am a violinist as well, I compose everything from the piano.

I fumbled over ideas, words, and I know I didn’t explain things well…

And then, we decided to just play some violin duets.

Duets turned into performing…

Getting ideas…

Cranking out the manuscript paper…

Writing down a short song that we made up together in the ABA Sonata format.

And then…

SMILES.  On his face as well as my own.

He felt a sense of excitement learning that he could CREATE music, not just play it.  I felt a sense of happiness seeing that in him.  And lastly, I was not just the teacher but also the student. It was also MY first song ever composed on the violin.  It was definitely not as easy as composing on the piano, and yet it was so simple. 

I explained to him how I had studied music in college and had been through the ringer with Classical music ingrained into my very soul.  However, I always felt frustrated when I wouldn’t play something EXACTLY right.  And that is why composing is so satisfying.  It is YOUR creation and it is never incorrect.  You make it however you want and it is your own.

After a brief moment of “ahhh”, we broke out into The Orange Blossom Express and jammed some more. I dare say he had me beat on that song.

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3 responses to “A Teaching Moment

  1. How awesome! I’m so glad that the two of you got to experience that together. And it makes me even more resolved to get away from the screen today . . . :o)

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