Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pulling on the Reigns

So, as you guys know, Super Spawn is taking Suzuki Violin lessons.  We've been at it for a little over a month now, and the other day I sat marveling at yet another lesson my sweet four-year-old has taught me.

You see, the basis behind the Suzuki method of teaching violin is parent involvement.  I'm in all his lessons with him, and we practice together every single night.  Now, I had my share of music lessons growing up (though not as young as he is) so I was prepared for the daily repetition of skills, the stand this way, fingers curved, keep that wrist straight diatribe.

What I didn't expect was a lesson in perspective.

Super Spawn is four.  The violin is a hard instrument to learn.  There are tons of little technical movements kids have to master before they ever put the bow to the string to make any kind of noise.  And when your mom is a Supremo Perfectionist?  Well, the fun gets sapped out of that practice faster than you can say quit.

The good news is, this Supremo Perfectionist Mom saw the light before it was too late.  Turns out, you don't have to get it perfectly right from square one.  It's okay to mess up, play around, and have a silly fun time while you do it.  And surprisingly enough, when Super Spawn is having fun in practice sessions, he's learning it faster.

And I'm not lowering my expectations of him, don't get me wrong.  We go into practice with a plan.  Tonight, we're focusing on our Mississippi River rhythm, but we're not just going to stand there and repeat it 30 times, we're going to turn it into a game!  I think it's worth mentioning that since I've structured our practices this way, he comes home and asks to practice every night.  How's that for proof it works?  ;)

What does this have to do with anything?  Well, I put this into practice over the last few weeks with my new WIP's first draft.  I went into my draft with a plan (a loose outline) and a daily wordcount goal to meet.  But instead of sitting down and attempting to write The Perfect Draft, I focused on enjoying the story.  I had fun with my characters and my plot, and as I go back and read it, I'm kinda impressed.  It's actually way better than I expected. 

On a normal occasion I'd be so worried about every word I wrote, every single bit of plot being just right, that pushing the words out would be a chore.  But thanks to my silly little violinist, I've learned how to pull the reigns and step back to have a little more fun with my own "practice".   

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