Thursday, May 16, 2013

Like Mommy, Like Daughter

It's been awhile since I last posted anything here.  Since February, I've taken our girls on an eight day adventure to my parent's farm in Michigan, I've trained for and completed my second Half Marathon, and we've given our home a face lift (new floors, new paint, new furniture!!  YAY!!).  

The kids (Ava and Dakota) are morphing into little adults before our eyes.  Dakota is now attending a weekly Toddler Class - she's the oldest one in the group and towers over all the little non-walkers.  Ava has been attending a weekly (if we can get her there) ballet class.  She has a fantastic teacher and is learning how to follow instructions and participate in a group...  she's also been taking piano lessons with a teacher who I hope she thinks is fantastic... me.  

For almost a year, I've had a hidden fear about starting her into piano lessons.  It seems obvious that she should take piano lessons, but I wasn't sure if I was going to be up for the challenge.  I know my child.  I know how shy she is in groups.  How she wants to hide when people ask her questions.  How she clings to me when she's nervous, upset, embarrassed, unsure...  

I felt it necessary to safeguard the situation with a buffer so I enrolled my husband as her "coach" during the lesson.  Because of his lack of musical knowledge, I wasn't sure if he'd agree to it.  It's also a weekly commitment and he has lots of other commitments.  I'm happy to say that he agreed to be there.

First lesson, the other two students and parents arrive 15 min early.  My husband and child are 3 minutes late.  Ava enters wearing a flowery dress that is usually reserved for dress up time, occasionally she wears it to preschool, but on most days it's just hanging in her closet.  The first lesson consists of a variety of "getting to know you" activities.  Parents and students get to know me, my expectations, how to use their materials, how to spend their "playtime" at home... and I get to know them and how they interact with their child, how well their child follows instructions... how well the parent follows instructions.  And of course, we get to play.  Hands on the piano, moving along the keys like a butterfly...

During Ava's first week of practice, a fight broke out... on the first day.  "No!  I don't want to play the piano!  I don't want lessons!"  Wow.  Already?  I stayed firm in my requirement and dragged her to the piano.  Once there, we had the best time.  We played together.  We drew pictures to the musical recording.  We played our pictures onto the piano and told stories.  The rest of the week was amazingly fun for both of us.

Second lesson, the other students and parents arrive 10 min early.  My husband and child are 2 minutes late. Ava enters wearing the same flowery dress.  It occurs to me that she must have changed because she wasn't wearing it a half hour before.  It then occurs to me that she must have designated this as her "piano lesson" dress which makes sense.  She has a ballet class outfit.  Why not a piano lesson outfit?  

At our second lesson, we explore the Pentatonic - fun to say and fun to play.  We practice playing loudly and softly and "closing our curtain" to end our song.  The class went so fast that we had time left over.  The kids gave their parents a drum/shaker and took one for themselves.  Each family had a turn at playing a blues duet with me at the piano while the others banged their drums.  It was loud, groovy and magical.  These little 4 1/2 year olds are magical.  I was impressed by their (and their parents) uninhibited musicality.

Since beginning this new musical journey with Ava, I feel very lucky to be the one to introduce music to her and also to follow her as she explores and creates.  Music is a powerful connector of people.  And I'm so thankful that my husband and I both get to connect with Ava through music.  I'm looking forward to our next lesson! 

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