Strings and Merriment

I wish you could have been there.
We sat and listened intently.
They played only a few songs, but they played them well.
The stage was full of children,
but truly only half as many as the previous year.
Each year, it appears that many are weeded out
and fewer and fewer remain dedicated. Mr. Browning, Joy’s favorite teacher, conducted her group.

Almost without fail, I choke up during performances…
knowing that these children have spent hours and hours preparing,
and they want to do their very best.
There is such pride ….
such joy.

As it is with my own Joy.
We have gone to practice on Monday nights since school began. She has only missed one practice, and that practice was one she chose to miss so that she could audition for a play.

She has accepted the challenge to practice daily. Though she may need reminding, she practices faithfully and is seeing improvement each week. She yearns to learn to
wiggle her fingers to create vibrato,
learn to tune her own instrument
and learn to fluently read sheet music.
It will come.

I love to listen to her play and I tell her almost every day. I know those few squeaks and squawks are all part of the road. Others ruffle their brow or send their children to their room to practice. I have actually heard people ask, “How can you stand listening to that?”  I want Joy to know that I want to be a part of the beginning and as well as the end. I will be there for the practices, rather than just show up for the fanfare at the end.  Orchestra is just another picture of how I want her to understand that I will live my life: dedicated. I will be there and I will support her – when the music is pretty … and when it’s not ( … just yet).

I tell her at the start of any activity, “If you start it, you must finish it. Quitting isn’t an option.” Awana, soccer orchestra … any commitment – the rule is the same.

I want to encourage her so that she will continue on with this love. I think of her practice – her relationship with her instrument – in the same light that I do every other relationship.

Whether it be a friendship, a marriage, a co-worker relationship, a parent/child tie,
the parallels are numerous.
– It takes a great deal of work to make it work well.
– It often looks better at a distance than it does up close.
– The practicing is often filled with off-tune notes, squeaks and squeals.
These are learning experiences and shouldn’t be viewed as failure.
– When new music comes along, you have to put forth extra effort.
– There are times when you’re going to mess up.
It’s okay. The goal is not to make the same mistake again and again.
– You have to take time to tune your instrument. That requires attentive listening.
– There is a beautiful harmony when everyone is playing from the same sheet music
even though there are many different instruments in the orchestra or band.
– Rhythm is important to keep everyone together.
– There is a Conductor who offers His guidance,
if the orchestra will just follow His lead.

I am so proud of Joy. She’s learning more than how to move a bow across strings of steel. Maturity comes with this experience. Though she and I are apart for much more of the day than I would prefer, I am still privy to see her growing by leaps and bounds and I give thanks.

After weeks and weeks of practice,
there was merriment last night.
Instruments were in tune
playing from the same music,
with a conductor keeping rhythm.
After weeks and weeks of practice
the fanfare was absolutely lovely.

One thought on “Strings and Merriment

  1. And once again, I am challenged to re-think how and why I say and do certain things and the implications of them. thanks… one day, in Heaven, there will be a better word, I am sure of it.


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