1.05.2011

Worth It

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I had one of my sweet piano students tell me yesterday that he is done with piano. "It is too hard," he said, "And I don't have time to practice anymore." (He is 8.)

I told him that I remember what that is like. I hated to practice too. I used to sit at the keys and cry because I was sick of practicing, it was too hard, there were other things I want to do instead, cartoons were on, none of my friends had to practice as much as I did, etc. etc.

But I didn't know how to explain to him the joy I felt after my first Concerto festival - where almost a year of dedication led me to 40 memorized pages, and such pride in finishing it, that when my mom took me to Sonic afterwards to celebrate, it was the best slush I have ever had. I didn't know how to tell him that practicing for duet festivals with Jessica were some of the funniest times ever, and made us closer than ever.

I couldn't explain to him the tears that rolled down my face when I played and sang for Kevin, "I Wanna Get Married" because I practiced that song for years, knowing I would play it for my future husband and now I had a future husband and the words from the song made sense because I had been practicing it for him, for that moment all those years.

I didn't know how to explain to him the pride of seeing one of my beginners play in their first recital, their smiles beaming not from their performance, but from their tears and frustration getting to that point. I didn't know how to tell him that Row Your Boat can sound like Mozart to my ears, or that I bear my testimony through music, or that it has defined so much of who I am, and who I want to be, and what I want my children to learn.

I didn't know how to tell him that the best things are hard.
(But that they are always worth it.)

21 comments:

wallflower said...

Ugh. I had lessons when I was 10 or so, and I quit because I didn't really like it and it was getting confusing.

Now I regret quitting.

Caroline Henley said...

This is so beautiful, and so true! I never had piano lessons, I was always more into sports but I remember having to make 100 baskets each day when I came home from school before I could do anything else... and I have so many great memories from playing basketball because of that!

Griffin and Gretchen said...

Good for you for staying with it! That's awesome that you have so many great piano memories. I will forever regret quitting because practicing was "too hard". Domday I'll pick it back up again.

Ana* said...

The best things in life are hard and so worth it!! I absolutely love this.

Bridgette Nicole said...

If only I had stayed with piano. Now I am a music teacher because I love to sing and my one regret in life is not taking piano seriously. You are such a beautiful writer Mandy! If only that student knew and understood all those emotions, I'm sure he would stick with it! :)

Emily Dawn said...

Mandy,

When I was little and in piano I hated it too, and wanted to quit so bad and my mom PROMISED me that I would regret it.

I quit, and it is probably the only regret that I have to this day.

I should have listened, my mother knows what she's talking about!

I wish so bad that I could play! You are great.

annie said...

this is just beautiful, and so true. i took piano lessons for 11 years, and at one point, i was ready to quit. but i saw the passion for music my teacher possessed, and i knew: i wanted that, too. maybe your student will see that same passion in you.

Logan, Christa and Autumn said...

Mandy I didn'tknow yuu taught piano. That is really awesome. I wish I had been more like you and less like your little student, because I always found reasons not to practice. :) Do you remeber in 9th grade seminary when I was trying to play the opening song "Choose the Right" and I was just having a really hard time getting through it with people singing, then you jumped up and came and helped me play it. I'm so jelous of people who put the time in and can play beautiful music. But I guess it's not too late. I could still practice and get better. I just need to get a piano now! :)

Prix ° said...

Here I am reading a book about writing, when all I had to do was read this post to understand what the book is trying to say.

Sist and Sist said...

So sad!!! :*( I hope he changes his mind!

Erika Rae said...

LOVE this. Thank you for this post. I cherish playing the piano, and I love hearing you write down those feelings like that.

Kate said...

This was lovely. I got goosebumps at the end!

Shalyn said...

I love that you teach lessons- you seem so lovely and this was absolutely beautiful to read- I regret quitting piano so much!

Alex said...

That was really touching, Mandy :) And what a beautiful talent to have!

Heather said...

This is beautiful mands, I loved it. And I wouldn't know how to say those things to an 8 year old either. I just missed having you in orchestra with me ;)

emilymcb said...

I love this post. Not only do I feel the same way as you about the piano, but this lesson is so applicable to life in general.

Brissa said...

I loved this post. I used to take lessons and stopped in 9th grade. I wish I had disciplined myself after the lessons stopped to keep practicing. Maybe then I'd be able to finish playing Moonlight Sonata instead of just the first page and half.

Bethany Susan said...

I didn't know you're a piano teacher! Too bad you don't live near me, I really want to get back into lessons!

I love this post. You are so, so right.

Jessica said...

Love this Mands. I wish you were here more than anything! We could play our way through Jeru, instead of me trying to meet people that I'll never love as much as I love you.

Carolina said...

This was beautiful and made me cry.
The end :)

Chloe said...

This is so beautiful, my eyes are filled with tears right now.