Our teacher planned for a “parent practice night” for our studio. During our lesson time, we were supposed to demonstrate what our practice times looked like. Sounds easy right? I’m pretty sure I failed………
We arrived at our lesson and had our little chit chat before we began. Our teacher moved from her seat and told me to take her seat and begin the lesson. She moved over to the parent observation chair across from me. Then I was supposed to “practice” with Curly. We went through a few things but it was obvious that Curly was nervous and felt awkward. She giggled through half of our practice time (which never happens at home) and she rushed through other sections and basically ignored much of the advice I gave her. I made the mistake of glancing over to our teacher who was furiously taking notes. Then I totally panicked. I brought the “practice” to a halt shortly thereafter hoping we could talk about some pointers and I could ask questions. Instead, I was grilled about practice times as she asked me about how we scheduled and structured practices. At this point, I was ready to sink into the floor.
I love listening to the violin. I’m glad Curly’s taking lessons. We’re not super hard core Suzuki parents. I work with her daily and she’s made great progress. But I’m more than ok with not spending an hour a day on practice time. I’m more relaxed than that. Plus, this is our first year with a new teacher, we just moved twice, we just had a baby, and my hubby has a new job and is in grad school. Plus, I homeschool my kids and reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic are more important than violin. Sorry! So, while I do think practice is important, I do give ourselves days off when we need a break.
Our first semester with the new teacher was a lot of backtracking and fixing old habits of incorrect technique. We started over and back at the beginning of the book. It was not easy for either of us. I had no idea how frustrated we would both be-at the teacher and at each other. Practice times were sometimes a battle. I tried to encourage, I tried to reason, I tried to talk through our problems. Some days were great and other days were awful. I mentioned concerns to our teacher and we pressed on. We’re finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel even though I know we’ll have other times that are incredibly difficult. I’ve come to learn that perfection isn’t everything. The relationship is really more important. And even though playing the violin can be very very hard, it can still be made somewhat fun……at least sometimes. So, I try to be a little more laid back which goes against my perfectionist nature. But, I really do try to find balance.
Well, I think I’m somehow missing the mark. The teacher didn’t seem pleased after our little practice time. I apparently was supposed to fill the entire 30 minute lesson time with my teaching. I had no idea that I was to be the one basically teaching the entire lesson that evening. I was just not prepared for that. Nor was I prepared for how I would feel as she questioned me about our practices. Can I just say that it’s incredibly intimidating to sit and try to direct your own child (who is not cooperating) while another person (an expert) is evaluating you? I did not perform well under that pressure and neither did Curly. Now I’m awaiting my emailed evaluation. Yikes!
I made a frantic phone call to my hubby as I left the lesson. He patiently listened to my crazy rant and heard my frustrations. Then I called another Suzuki mom in another city. She laughed as she totally understood my feelings of being completely overwhelmed. We brainstormed and came up with some new ideas for practice times and I made notes to improve. I’m never against improving. I guess I’m just not keen on being expected to perform under such pressure. Silly isn’t it that I should be so nervous?
I’ve decided that we’re going to make some changes but keep moving forward. My practice time will not look like any other parents in the studio. None of the other families have 5 small children. Maybe some are more serious than we are. Maybe some practice for an hour. We’re going to work hard but we’re also going to find ways to enjoy as well. I’m going to keep striving for balance. And when I get our evaluation it may be time for a heart-to-heart. I may have failed in her eyes but all I see is the last few weeks of practice-which have had less frustration each day. I just see slow and steady improvement and the beginnings of an enjoyment for playing. I consider that success.