Monday, November 15, 2010

Music Lessons

I pulled Nora out of her after-school Lego club last Friday to go to her violin lesson (oh dear, I didn't realize until I wrote it here how bad that sounds) and she cried and cried, although I'd given her a heads up that morning (that sounds pretty lame too, Mom) because she had to leave behind the Duplo "airplane" she had been running around with, and making buzzing sounds with her lips and bringing its unidentifiable chunky plastic fuselage down for a landing.

"I don't want to go to violin lessons!" she wailed in the car and I nearly started crying myself. Not just for that specific debacle, but for the once burning fire of precious interest that had ignited in her last spring when her Montessori class walked down the street to William Harris Lee and Co. luthier workshop and she got to hold her first string instrument. Maybe it was the deep mysterious tone of a plucked bass string, maybe it was the mother of pearl detail on one of their finer bows, but all summer Nora kept telling us she wanted to play the violin. Her momma, a French horn player for many years, was thrilled.

And now I feel like I stomped out that little flame. With private lessons from Isabelle, a grad student who forgoes her more unfamiliar English to grip Nora's hand and make her bow stroke more vigorous, with chaotic group lessons in a hot room crowded with family observers, and with yet another supplemental lesson so another grad student, Andrea, can get some clinical hours, and with the occasional practice session at home from parents who aren't entirely sure what the technique of "marliebow" is supposed to look and sound like.

Our Lego-aborting lesson last Friday was scheduled with Andrea, who greeted Nora's tear-streaked face with a sympathetic "Oh!" and, to my great relief, "I have a game for you!"

Oh thank God for the young, sweet and creative.

(How young? Well, at one point in the lesson, Nora asked, "How old are you?" "Twenty-three," replied Audrey and my heart just melted all over my lap - well, until it froze back up into place when Nora then asked me how old I was and when I answered nearly twice Audrey's years, my little one followed that with a wise-ass, "Sorry! that's just one year too old to get a star!")

Yes, thank God for the young, sweet, enthusiastic and creative. Because Andrea's little stars, cut from fancy patterned paper and handed out for each little song or technique exercise Nora practiced, saved the friggin' day. By the end of the lesson, Nora was charmed and warmed and I was relieved. The spark glows on for another day.

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