As a middle school and high school student I used to think it was a little funny that my mom was so enamored with my orchestra performances. We had an excellent director/teacher who knew how to get the best out of us. So, yes, we were good. As a member of that orchestra, I could recognize that we were good as a whole. I also knew the members really well, having been with the same group of students over many years, so I knew who practiced a lot and who didn't. I knew who gave it their all and who took it like any other class without much commitment or attention to the craft. Because I was in the middle of it, and probably because I was too young, I didn't realize just how amazing it really was. Don't get me wrong. I LOVED orchestra, my violin, my quartet, fiddle group...you name it, I loved it all. But, I didn't see the wonder in it.
Fast forward...ahem...25 or so years...and now I'm watching my daughter up on the stage. I realize now just what my mom was always saying. It's pretty amazing that you can take a group 12 and 13 year olds and plunk instruments in their hands and hear those beautiful sounds coming out. I mean, let's be honest. That same group of kids have a hard time remembering to take a shower without reminders, to finish their homework AND return it to their teacher, to run wild through the bus stop knocking down kindergarten students...not because they don't know better or aren't paying attention or just don't care, but because they are learning to navigate this ever-changing body of theirs. The hormones. The friends. The relationships. The heartaches. The hurt feelings. The rambunctious giggles. The rolled eyes. All of that working against them and yet look what they can do!
I watched my 12 year old play three songs today for an auditorium full of parents and 3 judges. These were songs they'd been perfecting for a while and they were beautifully executed. These were the same songs that sounded great a couple weeks ago at their concert but even better this afternoon. But the real kicker was when they were handed a brand new piece of music, given 5 minutes of talk time to prepare, and then they were asked to perform the new piece. I figured they would do alright, but that's a pretty tall order for a group of kids with a bigger group of parents watching and listening.
I was astonished. If I hadn't actually known it was a brand new piece, I would never have guessed it. It wasn't totally perfect, but it certainly wasn't a rusty, bumbling, first-attempt that I thought it might be. And that's when it hit me. That's when my mom's words all made perfect sense all these years later. I'm so glad I was able to watch this process today.
I'm one proud Mama!