Ryanna had her third violin concert in her life Saturday. I was really excited for her because she has progressed so much in her abilities the last couple of months. We took the summer off because her teacher was gone and we were terrible about practicing...pretty much didn't practice to be honest, but boy did we have good intentions. I didn't know how it would be starting up again this August and I have been pleasantly surprised by her improvements in so many areas--bow hold, fingering, speed, etc. There is a lot to think about when you play a violin.
I signed her up to do this concert at one of the group lessons she takes every other Saturday. They have children of all ages and abilities that perform. Ryanna's teacher, Mrs. Bowling, had decided that it would be good for Ryanna to play the theme to Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. I agreed, she had really grasped the song well. Seriously, she's been able to play this song without any errors for several weeks. I was really excited about the concert.
A brief history about Ryanna's violin concerts...She was always a bit shaky on the songs she was going to perform before the past two recitals. I never knew how she would do. I was always excited and anxious for her. She apparently has the ability to rise to the occassion and do well. With this history in mind, I knew she was going to rock this concert. She was so prepared.
Imagine my surprise when she got lost playing her song on Saturday. Here she was the first performer (she always is because she's always the youngest person playing the easiest song) and she started the song beautifully. I was really pleased and all of a sudden, she forgot to repeat the middle section. Oh no! I was worried for only a split second because not only does she rise to the challenge of these pressure filled events, but she is very good at finding her place in the music if she misses a note.
Well, this time she didn't. She wasn't able to find that note right away like she's so talented at doing. She wasn't able to act as though she slightly missed it. She got lost. She did eventually pick up with her teacher and finish the performance. She bowed...(I love her bows) and everyone clapped of course.
Honestly, I felt badly for her. She KNOWS this song better than any other song she's ever done before. We've practiced this song over and over. Not to the point where it's obnoxious because she knows it so well there has been no need. I couldn't help but wish it had been perfect. I wanted her to shine on her special day. Her grandma drove down from Colorado and we even had some good friends, Jack & Annie & their little girl, come and watch.
After the performance she went and sat down to finish listening to all the other performers. She didn't cry or seem distressed at all. After the concert finished, she came up to me and I told her good job, but I couldn't help but ask her what had happened. She didn't seem to know exactly herself.
We went to get gelatto afterward and had a good time as a family celebrating her performance. She had done the best she could after all.
I just wonder, how do you teach your child to strive for their best and be slightly disappointed that they didn't reach it and want to do even better next time? How do you do it without making them feel like they aren't good enough? How do you let them know that they are so perfect to you in every way, but you want them to reach their full potential, but not heap so much pressure on them that they always feel inadequate?
I struggle with this because I know I have felt this way. I know my potential in different areas and I know that I'm not reaching it all the time. I remember as a child wanting to please eveyone so badly and feeling their disappointment when I wasn't reaching expectations. Honestly, it definitely helped me to excel, but is it good? I don't want to be one of those parents you hear about who are vicariously living their lives through their children. You know those parents on the bleachers who are freaking out about their child missing the shot or the goal or the pass opportunity. That's not me. I want to be encouraging without demanding. I want my child to want for herself to achieve.
When Ryanna and I did a lesson today, we warmed up playing the first four variations that she knows. Then I said, "How about we do the theme now and I'll go get the camera and we can record it?" She said, "Yeah, 'cause I didn't play it right yesterday." My heart kind of sunk when she said that because I wondered, "Did she say that because she recognized it herself or because she could feel my disappointment?"
I realize that I'm imperfect as a parent and I hope that my child can look back and forgive my imperfections as I know I've certainly had to do for my parents. I just want so badly to be a better parent. Isn't that what we all want? To be better than the previous generation? To reach our potential...to feel like we might not have been perfect, but no one could fault us for trying? I think about this all the time. I worry that through my thoughtless words and actions, spoken or performed in haste, I may damage the relationship I have with my children or cause them to lose confidence and trust in me.
I am so proud of her. She is such an amazing child. My gosh, she's playing the violin at four years old!!! I could've never done what she's doing at her age. She's such a great sister to Owen, helper for me, friend to so many. I love her to pieces and I am so proud of my little girl. I hope that she can continue to teach me to be a better parent and remember that we're all works in progress.
(Here is the song from this afternoon. She starts to play the wrong note and catches herself and corrects it. The camera goes crazy a couple of times because I am holding Owen and he was batting the camera. Note: you'll need to turn off the music on the Pumpkin Patch slide show to hear this correctly. If you can't figure out how to do that, you can also view this at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXfu1_Qy7oE)