He learned how to sit in the "I'm great!" pose. Nice and tall. He can even balance a teddy bear on his head while he plays.
He learned about making short sounds and long sounds. We listened to the looooong sounds for a looooong time.
There is much discussion to be had on the subject of extracurricular endeavors. Some parents believe in unstructured play and learning, and that over-scheduling a child is detrimental to their development. Some parents believe that challenging their children to learn new skills as a musician, artist, or athlete teaches them to work hard and boosts their confidence. My philosophy incorporates both ideas. I do believe that it is important to let my boys play on their own for a good stretch of time; it fosters creativity and problem solving. Some of my best times as a kid happened when "pretending" with my friends or cousins. I had an especially good time with my cousin Megan as we princesses tried to escape our evil stepmother, the queen, or the wicked witch. We rode bicycle horses and explored strange and beautiful lands under her walnut tree.
But during the summer, when my friends' days were completely open, I was expected to complete an hour of piano practicing before I could play. Sometimes I resented it, yes. But I also found enjoyment in music. Through the years, I learned that, even though a piece may seem daunting at first, I was capable of learning hard things if I would just drill the tough spots and dedicate my time and energy on the piano bench. Thanks to a strong foundation on the piano, I was able to pick up the violin relatively quickly. Orchestra became my team sport.
This week, I attended a lunch meeting with some colleagues, all of whom are elite musicians and teachers, much more experienced than I am. Interestingly, most of them agreed that, although (or maybe because) they are all professional musicians, they do not desire their own children to become professional musicians. However, they still plan to place their children in music lessons. I told them that I was planning to give the punk his very first piano lesson that very day. My man and I aim to give our boys access to different areas of education - baseball, golf, soccer, art, piano, maybe cello, or even drums - and then let them decide what they like. This opinion was met with a bit of friction. Someone commented, "You can't expect children to work hard on their own. They don't get to choose to play or not to play!" Although I think I was a bit misunderstood, I didn't care to defend myself at that time. But let me explain here.
When I was a young girl, my mom put me in dance classes. Of course she did! She used to be a dancer herself, and she found great joy in the art. However, it turns out that I am a terrible dancer. Although I excelled at tap (I got rhythm, man!), I was the very worst in my class at ballet and jazz. It is my conviction that I am in the bottom 5% of all humans when it comes to flexibility. I cried and complained every time I had to go to class. It wasn't until after I quit that I finally figured out how to spread my toes apart, and I still don't understand why a ballerina has to have that skill. My point is that I am grateful that my mom had the understanding to let me quit something that I just didn't like. I was not required to follow in her dance steps. But because she saw that I had the skills of a musician, she did require that I stick with my piano, and later violin, lessons, even when they got hard. Even in the summer when all my other friends were playing. She gave me access to options, allowed me to choose, and then made me stick with it.
My name is Chinese, but my hair is red. When I was young, the worst thing you could call me was a redhead. It was "golden," thank you very much. I am a full-time mama to the punk and the basher. I am a violinist with Strings of Elegance, a private piano teacher and math tutor, and an Assistant Director for The Gifted Music School. My violin and piano were both made in 1910, and I inherited both from different grandparents. I have an outie belly button. My man looks hot in his "old man" hats. I enjoy sushi, hot tubbing, and getting caught in the rain.