P had a violin lesson today. Every so often I can feel she’s turned a corner with her progress. This October it will be three years since she started playing. We’ve turned many corners and there will be many more to come.
When she’s taught something new, it seems so small and insignificant and yet I can hear what a big effect it has on the music. The quality of the sound becomes noticeably better. The flexibility in her bow movements to dance from string to string increases. Her fingers start to lift and hold so fast and eloquently. These tiny changes are huge and they are always hard to nail down. Sometimes they make her take two steps back before she can take steps forward. So much is expected of her and she’s so young! Her mind must focus on multiple variables. Her ears, fingers, arms, shoulder and wrists all have a purpose, simultaneously. Sometimes I feel bad for having had her start so young. Then she meets her goal and does what is asked of her and I remember why we did this. We must let her rise to the occasion. We’re allowing her to discover what she’s made of. Every goals she meets is another stroke of confidence under her belt.
I grew up playing tennis. I felt achieving perfection in a sport was hard but watching P I think playing an instrument is much harder. The details are so minute. I recently found this clip of Gustavo Dudamel rehearsing and it brings back memories of hard coaches. But what he expects seems harder even more detailed than anything I went through. His ear hears such details. I think of P in this environment in the future. It scares me and yet this is what it’s all about.