“What is this place, someone’s house?” he asked. We walked up to the dark wooden door and walked in. We stood there for moment without saying a word. My seven-year-old looked around. It didn’t take long for him to figure out where we were. He walked over to me with a smile on his face. A long hug around my waist felt like two years in the making.
For two years he asked for a violin. I acknowledged his interest, but wanted to wait just a bit to see if it would change or wane. For two years a violin appeared on his Christmas list, or as a suggestion for us to consider for his birthday. My husband and I told him we would think about it.
A few months ago my seven-year-old and I went to see our local symphony orchestra. I asked him if he still wanted to play the violin. I whispered in his ear to watch the strings on stage, listen and think about what the instruments were saying with their sound. Afterwards, I inquired again about his interest in the violin, stressed that playing an instrument is a commitment. He nodded as if he understood and still professed his desire to play.
I knew I wanted to expose instrumental music to my sons, for them to play instruments of their own one day. I spent 18 years studying piano, flute, and music theory. I know what it’s like to play, to practice, to dedicate the time and space to learning an instrument. I’m happy to encourage and support that experience for any of my sons who express a desire to make music, but I also want my sons to want to play an instrument because their hearts tell them so, not because I do.
Today my husband and I got our son his first violin. The smile on his face was a song in itself.