Some people take summer lessons. Some people take the summer off. This year we didn't take any summer lessons, and I also didn't practice Benny too rigorously. I had several reasons.
One reason is that the sooner we get to Book 3, the sooner we get out of Book 3 and have to find a new teacher. I never want to find a new teacher, therefore I am not eager to get into or out of Book 3. I want to stay with Mrs. Ford forever, even if it means that Benny is playing Go Tell Aunt Rhody when he goes off to college. I don't care. No one else understands the subtle nuances of teaching Benny. Ahem. I know that sounds preposterous. I don't care. I'm not in a hurry for Book 3 to come and go, and I'm not ashamed. I have my heels planted.
Another reason was that in all the preparation for the final recital, and with the fifty day challenge and everything, Benny had lost a little of his enthusiasm for playing, and practicing was becoming too challenging. I was having to bribe him a little too much, and I like him to be more self-motivated. So, I backed off, to give him a chance to step up.
The last reason was that we were travelling, thinking about other things, concentrating on plyaing on the beach and feeding chickens at the farm and riding bikes and stuff like that.
In my opinion, the break in intensity paid off, big time.
For one thing, Benny's tone has improved enormously. I don't know whether it's because he's playing with more genuine enthusiasm, or whether he has grown physically to the point where he can handle his violin better. He just seems to have a bigger and more confident sound in general. Check out this bow hold:
I spent most of the month of May telling him to keep his pinky on top. In fact, the words, "Pinky on top" were so familiar in my mouth that sometimes I was awakened at three o'clock in the morning by my own repetitive muttering. Now the pinky is on top, magically, of its own free will.
On the topic of enthusiasm... let me show you this:
Benny gives a daily concert off the back porch of this beach condo, to the people in the pool. He has written programs for this, and announces it in a very grand and officious way. He runs through most of his Suzuki Book 2 repetoire on a daily basis. And he LOVES it. How can I, watching this, really get tough with him on whether something was sufficiently staccato or whether an up bow was really a down bow? I have just decided to enjoy the show instead. When we get back, Mrs. Ford can sort him out. And if it takes her all year... so much the better!