Monday, November 11, 2013

Practice, Practice, Practice!

For all those who have been wondering how music lessons have been going at our house, the answer is not well.  I've been standing back and allowing Josie to work through her cello lessons on her own and week after week, it's been the strangest thing:  Not only has Josie not learned any notes, but she also insists that there's nothing to practice!  

Go figure!

And then "orchestra" started - which I thought was weird, considering that not a single note had been mastered yet.  But when I picked Josie up, I was shocked to hear that most children in the room seemed to know multiple notes and more than one bowing technique.  

It was time for me to get more involved in Josie's cello practice.

We got out her instrument this weekend and we worked through the first two lessons in her book (which she claims the teacher hasn't used yet).  

There were tears.  There was frustration.  A Sternly Toned Email was sent by me to the string teacher in question.

These lessons are not exactly cheap and she's had about eight sessions so far.  It seems like plenty of time for the teacher to have noticed that Josie doesn't have a clue what she's doing.

Luckily for Josie, I've been here before:  I've managed the early musical careers of my two older children and I've gotten fairly good at teaching music to beginners.

By the end of the second practice session, Josie was no longer feeling defeated, she could play a passable "Hot Cross Buns" and could read notes D, G & F#.

I vowed to help Josie practice every day after school for as long as it takes her to catch up (to the rest of her group, whose parents have obviously not been allowing them to skip practice and claim music lesson ignorance).

And then for good measure, I made Georgia get out her flute because, come to think of it, I haven't heard the shrill dulcet tones of her instrument in a while either.

And since today was a day off from school, I figured we could spend the day doing nothing BUT practicing!  

I sent Josie outside to work on the Slap Shot challenge issued by our youth hockey program.

Last week at hockey practice, I noticed that Josie "I haven't started yet" Elliot looked up to the ceiling and whistled while the other children discussed how many slap shots they had done for the contest that week.  

It was time for Josie to add some numbers to her own spreadsheet and enter that contest, too.

After all, I don't want her to be accused of not doing her fair share.  She was already told by one of the less liberated team parents that "she's the best skater on the ice, but she shoots like a girl."

I literally didn't know what to say.  I hadn't heard such blatant sexism since the early 1990s.  

I fumed all the way home and gave my girls a stern lecture about how that man was absolutely crazy.  They live in a world where girls can do EVERYTHING that boys can and no one shoots a puck in a way that's connected to either gender.

My lecture sunk in, that night we were telling Gordy about the hockey parent neanderthal, and I had just gotten to the punch line when Josie interrupted me with the loud declaration, "And THAT'S SEXIST!"

I couldn't have been more proud.  

Practice, practice, practice  - be it music lessons, sports skills or lectures on the importance of feminism, our work on this earth is never done!

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