Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Violin Scholarship

Connor gets a little fixated on things, being the kid he is.

A while back, he assigned everyone in the family a color.  He also assigned the Holy Family colors, because, you know, they need to have them too.  He is green, and Trevor is red, by the way.  Trevor doesn't like being red - but that's how it goes :)

Once all the colors were assigned, Connor moved on to musical instruments.  We coached him to let the people who actually play a specific instrument to have that instrument assigned to them.  So I have guitar, and Diana has flute, etc.  Connor chose the violin for himself.

I think Lee & I have both posted in the past about Connor's enjoyment of classical music on YouTube, specifically Brahms, Bach and Beethoven.  Something about the "B's" - I don't know.  In any case, he especially loves pieces with violins.

This last year, he started doing choir at school as well (last year it was art).  He has an assistant with him in choir class who is very impressed with Connor's ability to learn notes & sing.  He did really well at his Fall Concert with the choir - better than I'd hoped.  It was great :)  What impressed the assistant was that Connor would sing the harmony, while the rest of the class sang the melody.  It's not that he knew the songs (we don't go around singing "Shenandoah" around here), he just read the notes and figured it out.  Because we explained this to Connor's teacher & aide, they realized he has a bit of a gift when it comes to music.

There's a local Arts Center here that likes to sponsor students in music, among other things.  Connor's assistant found out about a scholarship available to kids his age, and sent home the application form for Connor.  When I filled it out, I obviously made mention of Connor's autism, and then his love for classical music.  I never know how people will take in that information.  On the one hand, there are some pretty dang cool autistic savants in music.  On the other hand, he may have already gotten what he wanted out of violin, and is ready to move on.  It's really hard to tell.

One thing is for sure, though.  We were not intending to spend a lot of time & effort trying to teach him violin.  Neither Lee or I knows anything about it, and we don't know how well Connor would take to it.  We don't have a budget that includes music lessons or instruments at this time.

After we filled out the paperwork, Connor's choir teacher decided to loan Connor a violin.  Wow.  That's pretty brave :)  I'd been looking on craigslist for something that it wouldn't matter if it got ruined.  He has actually been very good about putting it away carefully.  He has no clue how to play it, but he likes trying to 'serenade' me when I take an afternoon nap (NOT helping!!!).

So today I got a letter from the Umpqua Valley Arts Association.  They have decided to award Connor $250 for lessons and the use of a violin!  It goes through his teacher, not us, so it's going to be set up and all we have to do is get him to & from lessons!  Wow!  I'm so excited for Connor just to see what will happen!

I really hope he can figure out & put together that holding his fingers in a specific position on the strings makes a specific sound with the bow.  Once he's got that part, I am anxious to see how far he can take it.

Too cool!!  Go Connor!

I'll keep you updated :)


Re-Navy!! said...

omgh i am so excited for him!!! i hope his bandmates will accept him too! So i found out today that program "your baby can read" works for autistic kids too! I am thinking of investing into it and seeing if connor would be interested in watching it! Its for kids any age...we just like to target the younger ones because they are a little easier to teach. But its worth a shot right? Even though he can read it teaches languages too!

Tina said...

He's actually great at reading. It's the comprehension he has difficulty understanding.

So another person stepped up and MATCHED the donation from the Arts Center - so now he has $500 for violin lessons! Isn't that wild???

I have no clue where this will wind up for Connor - but at least he'll have a great opportunity to explore violin :)