January 16, 2012
Perfect Pitch

"Dad! It's out of tune! It sounds like a ukulele!"

Olivia doesn't take surprises well. She got a double dose of that, one from each side. Witness her reaction when, on her triumphant ride back from her holiday camp, when told she was still going to have to practice violin. A digression...

This "camp" was what she insisted on attending, even though I had the day off. Being a dad, I didn't quite understand why it was so important to stuff every Monster High doll she owned (and she owns many) into her backpack that morning. Until I went to pick her up.

"Olivia! Your dolls are so beautiful! Can I take this one home?"

Olivia, gently: "No, but I'll bring her back next time."

"Olivia, can I have this one?"

"No, but when we come back..."

And so it went.

Me, as we walked to the car: "Oh, I see. You just wanted everyone to see how cool your dolls were, right?"

Olivia, looking left as we walked right, and quietly: "No, dad, I was wanting to share."

Earlier, before I set out to pick her up, as Ellen walked down the stairs talking on the phone to her band... sorry, ORCHESTRA instructor, "Yes. I see."

To me: "Her teacher said, 'The other girls yell at her when she messes up, and she just nods and takes it. And then, just when I think she's not paid attention to a single thing I've said, she picks up the bow and plays it better than anyone in the class. That's why I gave her a solo.'"

"DAD! It's not right! It's not in tune!"

So I decided to stick to our practice schedule, even though this is technically a day off. 15 minutes of practice, no more, no less.

"It's not right!"

"Play your D scale."

So she did, and it wasn't right. When she went to the third string, it was a half step, not a full step.

"Again, but slowly this time."

Up, and a half step. Down, and a half step. The fret is marked, and so I know she's got the right fingerings.

And I'll be damned. Not six months of playing, and she can tell when her violin is BADLY out of tune. And I can't.

I have no idea what it really means, other than a little girl who I remember had trouble walking up inclines now can tell when the violin isn't tuned right.

And that makes all the difference.

Posted by scott at January 16, 2012 10:03 PM

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