Nick is excited about playing the trumpet. He dreams of entertaining others, being on stage, and receiving applause. But now he has to practice daily, alone in his room. Rats, he thinks, this isn't what I signed up for. Where's the fun in this? It doesn't take long for his enthusiasm to dwindle.
Before long, Nick loses interest and wants to quit his lessons. Mom asks, "What's the problem, Nick? You were so anxious to get started. I know that if you just keep practicing, you'll love playing in the band." When this doesn't work, she tries everything else she knows, with no results. He still wants to quit.
Mom came to me for help. "Jim, you are a musician. How did your mom keep you practicing when things got hard for you? I know that you're glad you didn't quit. I've heard you tell about how thankful you are to have your music."
I owe it to a wise mother who kept me excited about playing my horn. She didn't send me to my room to practice alone. I practiced in the kitchen while she prepared dinner so that she could often interrupt my playing, saying things like, "Stop, Jim. That's great! Play that again. I just love how you did that. That was so beautiful." She would ooh and aah about my efforts.
Even though she heard my mistakes, she seldom stopped me to correct them. She left the criticism for the teacher and she only raved about how much she loved my good notes. My practicing didn't become work. It was a time to show off, and it became the best time of my day.
I wrote this today for a couple of reasons. My mom's technique can apply to all sorts of different childhood endeavors. And I was reminded of this because I will be the featured euphonium soloist in an upcoming concert.
If you happen to live in the Denver area, come to the free concert on May 9th at 7:30 p.m. It will be held at Ralston Valley High School. If you can't attend, look for it on our YouTube channel.
As you can tell, my mother gave me a gift for a lifetime.
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