By God’s grace and blessing, the violin class was started at Guogou Church. We purchased six violins (four ¾ size and two ½ size) from Classic (經典樂器), a music shop and studio at Putze (朴子), Chiayi (嘉義). I am deeply appreciated the financial contributions from Amy and Dr. Carl Chen, Dorothy and Ed Hsia, and Mr. & Mrs. Chen (陳銀河先生和夫人) that helped this missionary work. Special thanks to Dorothy, our spiritual teacher for her praying and blessing on our mission. I am also grateful to Elder Tsai (蔡明憲長老) at SongShan Presbyterian Church (松山長老教會), who donated two violins. The last but not the least, Ruth Young and Steven Hsu from Ruth Care and Development Association (路得關懷協會) provided the classroom, the students and my teaching assistant, Ms. Fanny Liao.
The violin class was started on May 26. The class was from 10:00 am to 11:30 am with 15 minutes break. The students were picked from 2nd to 5th grade by the Guogou Church teachers. The class began with a short prayer to remind the children that their learning time is devoted to God. The students were taught to take good care of their violins. The first class taught them the correct postures, the holding of the bow, the playing on E-string to make smooth sound without the scratching noise. At the beginning, they did not bend their thumbs correctly on holding the bow (a straight or “wooden thumb”), and the positions of the fingers were not in perfect places. I taught them to practice the bow-holding using the chop-stick because the light weight of the chop-stick helped them to place their fingers correctly. Gradually, their fingers were placed on the right positions. They played the rhythm of Twinkle-Twinkle Little Star. Amazingly, they played the bow almost straight on the center between the bridge and the finger board, and they produced beautiful, harmonic tone. The class was ended with a short prayer again.
The students were in good spirit and were very concentrated. Ms. Liao helped to correct their postures and led their prayers. I am particularly concerned about starting with correct postures because a bad habit will be difficult to correct later on. Here are the ten most common errors made by the violin students . Therefore, Ms. Liao and I spent a lot of efforts on correcting their postures.
The class will be taught weekly for now and less frequent later on. The students are required to practice at least 30 minutes at Guogou Church after their regular after-school tutoring class. We look forward to seeing the progress of the students. Most importantly, we would like to see their character transformed.