I wish I could write a letter of apology to the piano teacher of my childhood, Mrs. Bogart. She tried – she really did – to encourage me to practice. She gave me all of the skills, attempted to excite my love for the instrument, and listened to every lame excuse week after week. How frustrating it must have been for her to have to go over the same material at every lesson because I did not practice it and had forgotten most of what she had taught me the previous week. What a thrill she had to have experienced when I occasionally developed an interest in something and nailed it. I must have been an exasperating and exhausting annoyance every week for her.
Sadly, I will never get to write that letter. She passed away many years ago.
Now that I am playing the instrument of my choosing, and paying for the privilege, I get it. I was too immature at the tender age of six to realize what a fantastic opportunity I was being offered. Children have so much free time and intellectual capacity. I could have made much greater strides if I had only chosen to practice the piano in those eight years, rather than torture everyone around me – including poor Mrs. Bogart. Of course, this is all in hindsight. At the time, I thought I was a model student, and she just too impatient. I was blind to my own faults.
Though it is difficult, I am trying to be patient with my progress on the violin. The majority of my daily practice is dedicated to the skills my instructor focused on in our lesson. I am getting more proactive in determining my own technical weak points so I can share them at the beginning of the lesson. No need to waste time having the teacher try to discover them on his own. No doubt, he will find other issues that need addressing and will then have more time to devote to introducing new skills. Though we could probably carry on an extensive conversation, we both make an effort to keep chit chat to a minimum so that we can make the most of our short lesson each week. It’s hard, too, because I can tell we both like to talk. Ha ha!
This feels different. I don’t think it is only because I feel the pocketbook pressure. A lot of it has to do with maturity, having goals, and understanding consequences. Of course, I am eager to improve. I don’t know how to measure my progress, but I feel as if I am doing alright. One thing is for certain, it sure takes a lot of practice to maintain what I’ve learned already. I wish I had realized that 37 years ago. So thanks, Mrs. Bogart. I learned something. It just took a really long time to sink in.