My only violin student came to her last lesson today. She’s seven or eight, was extremely excited to start and then fizzled rather quickly. Her mother is wisely not forcing the issue right now. Better for her to stop now and want to come back to it later, than to be pushed now and quickly grow to hate it.
By her third lesson, she had already figured out that she was tired and that playing violin was hard. The violin is hard to hold properly, the bow is hard to hold properly, her fingers didn’t want to go on the strings properly.
Today, her last lesson, she asked me what instrument was easy. Was the piano easy? How about the flute? I laughed and told her that all instruments are hard, they all take work, but that they’re worth the effort you put into it. Yes, I do get philosophical and deep with my young students. I think too many adults underestimate children. I told her that the more she picked it up and played, the easier it would get, even if it didn’t seem that way now.
Her final decision was to play the maracas, because all she had to do was shake them. Sometimes I wish life was that simple. I wish that there would always be an easy choice, that gave great reward without a lot of effort. But the maracas in real life aren’t as grand as they are to a child. Those things worth having are worth working for and if I want them in my life, then I should want to put the effort in to attain them.
Now I have to uncomfortably examine myself and see where I just want the easy route and where my path might be easier if I’d just be willing to put the work in to make it easier. And that’s what I love about teaching, because there is always something there for me to learn too.