Violins and Victory

violin 3

“I can’t do it! I won’t do it!”

My son screamed at me today while working on a violin piece called “Allegro.”  He threw himself face-down on the couch and refused to work on his piece. My heart broke for him because he was so frustrated about not remembering how to play a particular measure he learned at his last lesson.  These past few weeks were hectic, and practice was minimal.

In this situation his brain knew what to do but his little fingers would not cooperate. This caused the meltdown of epic proportions. We debated about whether the first note was a “D” or an “A”, and what Daddy the musician wrote in the booklet vs. what he thought his instructor said. The fact that he could not figure out the note (one note, y’all!) in this measure caused him such angst that he just cried on my shoulder leaving behind his tears.

I explained to him that it was acceptable to tell his instructor that we had not practiced and that he could ask for help.  I explained how proud I was of him and how well he was doing with his playing.  He expressed concern about not getting his fourth tape, which is apparently a big deal to young violinists. Tape is added underneath the strings to show where to place fingers while playing and the fourth tape is added after some advancement. I guess this fourth tape would earn him some sort of “street cred” among his peers. I soon realized that not practicing his piece put him at risk of not getting the tape.

At the lesson, he was more mellow than usual. I explained to his instructor that we had a sort of “come to Jesus” moment before practice and that he would need some assistance. I observed my son through the glass listening to his teacher instead of bouncing around like he usually does. He copied her movements and attempted to mimic the notes she played. Once he figured out how to play that difficult measure he was like a different child, playing with such gusto one would think that there were never any tears over this particular song (the gusto may have been because he was trying to play staccato notes….). In fact, he almost bowed his teacher right in the forehead while she was trying to point something out in his music booklet.  And he didn’t even notice. I just shook my head.

I watched my son work through something that only an hour before seemed impossible. He broke down that song one note at a time until he could play it.  My 7-year old went from flailing and crying about a song to playing it like he’d actually practiced it instead of playing Minecraft. I could not believe my eyes at the perseverance he displayed!

I am unable to play any instruments and I desperately wanted our children to have this opportunity. Today my son achieved something I could only dream of when I was his age.  With the help of encouraging words and a patient (and dare I say saint-like) instructor my son overcame a seemingly high hurdle. He needed someone to speak into his life and affirm his ability. He needed someone to stand next to him as he worked on every note while encouraging him to try again…and again…..and again.

Today my little dude received his fourth tape and  I was blessed to see my son blossom under the tutelage of one who loves the Lord and uses her talents to benefit others. I’m so thankful for our community.

In this season of life, what’s your “tape”? Who or what is speaking into your life? Where do you find the strength to try again….and again…and again? Who is walking alongside you, pushing you towards victory?

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