On his first day of school last year my son came home and told me he had signed up for the beginning strings class at his school- he would be learning to play the violin. I was so excited for him to learn how to play an instrument- any instrument- I just wanted him to have the exposure to music. Maybe playing an instrument wouldn’t be his thing, but I had been dying for him to give it a try. He has never wanted to commit to any instrument in particular so it was meaningful to me that he chose violin on his own accord. I am not particularly musical (I have only taken one piano class and I am no prodigy), but I love music and everything it offers. It is my favorite art form, it is expressive, and it may even help kids learn.
A couple of months after my son started playing violin we stumbled upon a PBS concert with David Garrett, a classically trained, German-American violinist. He is amazing, and my son was really excited to see him pluck the violin strings during songs because he was learning the same technique. Garrett seamlessly mixed classical music with rock, pop, and blues. I am a fool for mixing genre’s, particularly when it means integrating something as beautiful and cultured as classical music. This offers a fantastic opportunity to expose kids to the art and culture of classical music, as they are intrigued by the more familiar sounds.
Today I happened upon Garrett’s newest album, Rock Symphonies, which- hence the title, mixes rock music and classical violin. Again, this CD grabbed my son’s attention immediately as Garret puts his own spin on familiar songs like Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way”- but Garret also puts a rock spin on classics like Beethoven’s 5th and mixes a Vivaldi concerto with a U2 song. It is a great CD- one that is being played constantly at my house. Next week my son starts another school year, and this year he has chosen to learn how to play the cello, so bumping into the CD was serendipitous. After a relaxed summer it has given him a spark of excitement to get back into his strings class.