A struggling new musician…

…that’s me.  I do not mean just a little bit; I mean a lot.  I suppose it’s because I’m an old(er) person learning a new skill, but it really is trying my patience.  The finger movements are awkward, the sounds are….only sometimes pleasant.  I am not just spending the recommended 15 minutes per day on this.  I figured with as much trouble as I was having getting started, I needed to spend at least 30-45 minutes per day until I get a little more comfortable.

I am beginning to think that I have a little bit of the same attitude that I’ve criticized when I heard it coming from my grown children.  It’s what I heard when I asked one of my daughters why, since I’ve sewn prolifically throughout her lifetime, did she not have any interest in sewing.  She said, “I just wasn’t good at it.  I’ve never been motivated to continue with something I’m not good at.”  I was astonished at the time that she—or anyone—would expect to be good at a skill that they hadn’t been at long enough to even KNOW if they were good at it.  Sewing isn’t “instant” skill.  It is learned through practice—-just like any skill.  If you focus and you want it, you can’t help but be good at it, but it does require repeated effort…it’s called experience.  It’s a learned skill.

All three of my children have played musical instruments.   Oldest daughter took clarinet lessons for over 5 years and was quite good–would have continued but the school schedule had conflicts.  Youngest daughter played violin for 5 years and took a summer class a few years later when she realized she was sorry she had given it up.  It’s her violin I’m using for my own practice.  My son is self-taught on drums, piano and guitar.  He has a wonderful ear for music.

With all this musical talent from my progeny, and knowing my grandmother was a piano teacher, I figured I might have a little something in my own DNA to help me along.

I just want to say to my children that I had no idea (especially with the daughters who took band/string at school) how hard they had to work to sound good!  I closed their bedroom doors in their earliest beginner days, so I heard very few of the squeaks and clunkers that I am having to hear from my own instrument.  I never paid much attention till they were good enough to at least play a song all the way through.  I suppose (cutting myself just a little slack here) that it was easier for them because they were young and the mind is like a sponge at that point.  But I’m feeling really klutzy trying to coordinate one hand fingering the strings and one hand moving a bow, along with the eyes reading the notes on the page and mind remembering what position to move my fingers to for that note.

I am really determined to do this and I figure if I can stick with it through the summer, I’ll be on my way and my fingers will feel more natural with their positions, my mind will memorize where my fingers need to move for the notes and I will make music more easily.  Jenna promised!

Anyhow, props to all my kids for making music and apologies for not realizing how hard you had to work to make it happen.  I’m sorry I didn’t pay more attention, though I’m sure I showed appreciation at your recitals and concerts.  I just didn’t know how hard you worked to get to that point.

And isn’t music a wonderful gift?  I can’t imagine my life without it and I will be jubilant when I can make some semblance of it for myself.

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4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jen
    Jun 27, 2009 @ 01:15:59

    If I can stick with it, you can too. 🙂

  2. chickadeeworkshop
    Jun 27, 2009 @ 02:00:09

    I intend to! You just made it sound so easy, I didn’t realize how hard it would be for me. I’m a perfectionist, so you can imagine how this is bugging me. I’m blessed, though, with probably THE most supportive husband in the whole world. He actually says he enjoys hearing me practice and insists on having me out in the living room instead of tucked away in the bedroom with the door shut. He says I’m definitely better than I was when I started a couple of weeks ago. I should hope so! I am actually struggling through Ida Red and Say Darling Say. I was going to record my progress on audio, but our little recorder broke.

  3. chickadeeworkshop
    Jun 27, 2009 @ 02:01:52

    Oh, and I must say that playing my iPod is a whole lot easier!

  4. Wendy
    Aug 26, 2009 @ 00:24:35

    Hey mom, parts of it came naturally, right away, but all the tougher stuff people really do practice to gain muscle memory to make it look easy, and automatic. Think about it like ballet… sure some people are naturally graceful and that’s a headstart, but nobody dances en pointe without a lot of blood sweat & tears!

    Turns out, 6 years of classes never made me anything but a poopy dancer but practicing for a few on clarinet I did omit the squeaks and eventually learn to cross the “break” to the higher octave and make it all sound natural and easy!

    PS – I only did the one year on violin, but D string was indeed a pain-in-the-ass to exclusively bow for awhile. I recall that having taken enough work to become automatic that I was kinda pissed when I had to do the opposite and it felt wrong toward the end of that school year when we began playing chords and drawing the bow along more than one string at a time!! lol

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