Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Practice is Hard

These are all really old pictures. They were taken in March. I had high hopes of editing them. That didn't happen, so I decided it was time to blog them before they were lost forever.

I didn't really know what I was getting in to when I started Thomas on the violin. I had no idea that I would be practicing with him every day. I imagined giving gentle reminders and cheering him on every now and then. Boy, was I WRONG!!! The responsibility for practicing is just as much mine as it is the child's, if not more. Total focus and attention is required of me during practice time in order to do it correctly.

This wasn't that big of a deal at first. Practicing only took about 10 minutes each day and I could do that while Essie was napping and Nicholas was happy. It was actually really fun to be so involved. Thomas and I enjoyed the time together. He is very receptive to teaching and is a quick learner, so practice time was generally a fun, happy time.

Fast-forward three years and it is an entire different story. I now have three children who need to practice each day. Essie's practicing takes 10 minutes. Nicholas's practicing takes about 30 minutes. Thomas's practicing could go on all day, but we generally keep it under an hour. That is close to two hours of my day, every day (except Sunday) that is dedicated to practicing instruments with my children. That is an enormous sacrifice. I often wonder if it is too much. Is giving my children the gift of musical ability worth that sacrifice? Are there other things that are more important that I am neglecting? I am not quite sure.

Also, I have many more demands on my time now than I did three years ago. Estella is at an especially demanding age. It is really hard for her to be ignored for an hour and a half while I am practicing with her brothers.

When Thomas first started, we never missed a practice. When I decide to do something, I like to really do it. If a teacher has given me an assignment, I want to do it well. I am having internal struggles now, because sometimes we are only practicing halfway. Sometimes I am tired and impatient and just plain don't want to do it. Sometimes I am feeling forced to choose which child gets the good practice time that day. I don't like that. I found myself giving practice priority to Thomas over Nicholas because it was easier for me to tell Nicholas's teacher (Jackson) that we didn't practice well than it was for me to tell Thomas's teacher (Jackson's mom). Since I have realized that I have really made an effort to change that.

Okay. I am finished complaining. I know that it will get easier. The kids will get older and more independent. I want to be able to look back and remember this time and the realities of it. Good things don't come easily. This isn't easy. It is good. It is a gift that I want to give my children. Music is so beautiful. It invites the Holy Spirit and feeds the soul.

FYI- Estella is learning to play the violin, not the cello. She had her first lesson last week with Grandma Chelle.

1 comment:

mary said...

Oh Jen, practice is hard. It is. I just feel every word of this post. And sometimes I do not have two hours to sit there every day, and some days I just plain don't want to. I am afraid that sometimes my presence is more of a detriment than a help with practicing, because I am so impatient. In fact, I have slacked off quite a bit with Hyrum because it just takes so much energy for me to help David. There! Those are my confessions to add to yours... but music is a wonderful thing, and you are a wonderful mother!