Saturday, January 30, 2010

Lily Surprises Herself

My Lily, thirteen years old, is stubborn and sure of what she wants to do, and just as certain of what she cannot do. She began piano lessons with a dear friend this year as her teacher. She requested piano lessons, this was not my idea. The grumbling that ensued, as she struggled to learn, was as bad as if it had been all my fault.

We have to be so careful about what we say around children. Even when they appear not to be listening, their ears are more active than we realize. One day a friend told me her mother had played the piano for years, but still played as poorly as ever, no talent at all. The next day, Lily began to say she was going to quit because she had no penchant for music, she was just hopeless and was not made for it. I was furious but felt powerless, what can one say to a teen who has made up their mind? I encouraged her to pursue this very new accomplishment and reserve her judgment for later.

A couple of weeks ago, her teacher announced a recital and gave her the choice of level two or level three music. Alienor was to be working on a level one piece, so Lily chose level three. It is a point of necessity with her that she play better than her much younger sister, though they started at the same time. She took those two pieces and panicked, at first. After we looked them over and went through a couple of scary parts, she ran with it. She has been practicing and practicing and when it was lesson time last Friday, she did a brilliant job of playing. Her teacher, bless her, was impressed, and even Lily, herself, felt a sense of having made major strides. She realized, I hope, that she can do this music thing, it is inside of her and working its way out. It may be a question of patience, of confidence, of talent or all three, but it is coming together for her and I am happy for her.

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