Violin Lessons During the Coronavirus Outbreak. A Pupil’s Progress.


He realized how serious the situation was at the end of January when the family’s Lunar New Year vacation to Chongqing, a city in the middle of China, was canceled. Kevin had been looking forward to playing his violin loudly outside every day. Instead, he had stayed home, watched news reports about the virus, and became nervous.

Kevin said the nerves passed quickly. His mother, who works at a hospital in Chengdu in its supplies department, told him as long as everyone’s careful, they won’t catch the virus.

Two weeks into the boot camp with Ms. Kreston, he is feeling much better, but longs for the outdoors. He is able to go into his apartment’s yard to play basketball, but he misses swimming and playing water polo and board games with friends.

“I feel bored!” he said while jumping from foot to foot as if filled with energy to burn.

Although he is “still very worried about Wuhan,” Kevin said is not so concerned about his own city. He doesn’t even worry about his mother, who has spent a lot of time recently buying masks and protective clothes for the hospital. “We’re often joking she’s the most dangerous person in our home and we should keep her in the bathroom,” he joked.

Kevin’s improved mood has a lot to do with the daily violin lessons with Ms. Kreston, he said. The two of them don’t just share videos back and forth, but also emoji messages about his violin playing.

Kevin now practices four hours every day, and he said his technique has improved and his sound has become more beautiful. Ms. Kreston said she gave Kevin the Lalo concerto because it was passionate at points and sad at others. Kevin could use it to tap into his feelings, even complicated ones about death and loss.

“The virus is terrible,” Kevin said, “but music gives us the confidence to overcome.”


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