Every March I hold a contest for my piano students. It is the time of year they start getting too busy or lazy to stay on top of their practice, so I just need to give them a little push. My children are no exception to the lazy bug, and it helps them as much as anyone.
Yesterday I was explaining to my son how the practice contest was going to work, the prizes, and what he was supposed to work on. It was too much, he didn’t want to practice, he couldn’t do it, he wanted to give up before he even started. That evening I set out the song he was working on and his practice chart and just left it on the piano. Looking for a way to get out of going to bed, he gravitated over to his music. Suddenly he remembered how much he actually liked the song he was learning, and sat down to practice, doing everything he had been asked to, and more. This morning, first thing, he has already gotten to work and finished learning the song that he had been putting off for months!
We all know that time changes things, incentives change, and so does perspective. If I had forgotten that concept, and gotten caught up in the negative emotions of the moment, I would have decided that working with this child was not possible and that it would take a miracle to get him to even try. Patience, time, and change can allow things to happen that we would have previously considered impossible. I believe this is one way miracles happen. It is not because the impossible has occurred, but because time and patience have occurred.
It’s been such a busy week, and it is only Wednesday!
Anyhow, yesterday I had to take one of my children out of school due to a long term illness, and begin homeschooling. I am amazed at how smoothly the transition is going. In reality I like homeschooling anyway, but that was not the choice we had made for this year, so it was sort of difficult. If he had gotten ill like this before this day of technology he would have grown up to be basically uneducated, or at least undereducated. Now, we file paperwork, pay his library fines, then we signed him up for my favorite online curriculum, pick a few novels we want to read together, and we’re good. He’s struggling getting back into a routine after spending so much time just laying in bed unable to do anything, but now he can work at his own pace. Two days ago the school was harassing us about incomplete coursework and excessive absences, today we learned about electrical currents, java applets, and started reading about the Holocaust. Amazing the information we have access to so easily. Technology miracle anyone?
It is inspiring me to keep focused on the online music courses I am still working on. I think I just found my test subject! Shameless plugs: I love www.time4learning.com through Odessy Learning, and I hope to finish the coursework for www.learnmusicathome.com – that now is at least online, and somewhat mobile compatible. A lot of work still to do.
Today’s miracle involves the miracle of individuality.
As a private music teacher I love cultivating each student’s individuality. This last week has been our area’s equivalent of solo festival. One young student, barely 8 years old, had a piece that he had been working on for a while. After he had learned it and registered to perform it, he had gotten a little lazy, and let some errors creep in. He panicked when he realized how far downhill he had let the piece get and how hard it would be to change the errors.
When I checked in on him after his performance he had an interesting story to tell. He had performed the piece perfectly and received a Superior (I) rating, with a rant review from the judge. He actually felt a little guilty because he knew he had not prepared to that level, but he learned something about himself. He told me that under the pressure of performing for the judge, something kicked in and he was able to perform flawlessly. He begged me not to make him play it again because he just wanted to remember the perfect performance.
This little 8 year old has found an individual strength and gift that many adults covet. I see it as evidence of a gift from God in a young individual.