Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A musical education.

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''April Fool’s! Tuesday, April 1
And we have likely all felt the fool in one way or another. Share your greatest challenge. Or one of those terrible, horrible no good, very bad days where the only thing there is to do seems to involve moving to Australia.''

We're already in Australia. Moving is not an option. Worse yet, we live on an island; a very small, very quiet island. God is His goodness, grace & mercy has provided all we need.
When my older children were small I thought they needed a musical education. I am not musical so I wasn't providing more than the most basic of basics. I looked round for a music teacher. I didn't care which instrument they taught...no music teacher; no music.
Then along came Ditz. Ditz is the completely homeschooled one, the one I taught reading & math to, the one I (foolishly) taught to make a pavlova & to play soccer with a cat tucked under one arm. I am *mathematically challenged*. This worried me enough I tentatively approached our church pianist & asked if she'd give Ditz lessons. Being a conscientious homeschool mama I'd done my reading. I knew music helped math. I knew kids who learnt an instrument do better academically. I knew Jazz is the only activity that uses absolutely every part of the brain. What I didn't know was God had gifted this child musically.
Sian agreed to teach Ditz piano & Ditz does OK with the piano but almost from day one she begged for a violin of her very own. No~one begs like Ditz. It went on & on. At any & every opportunity Ditz brought up violins. I fobbed her off. No teacher. No mainland car. No money. Then someone gave Ditz the princely sum of A$200~. Ditz was enchanted. Visions of sugar plums danced in her head. I was appalled. It was a frightening amount of money to give a little girl! Sugar plums were definitely not my idea of how to spend $200~. That money was burning a hole as deep & as wide as the Grand Canyon in Ditz's pocket. And then someone mentioned to me a new lady was on the island & guess what she taught for a living? Yep! Violin. Ditz bought the violin; I pay for the lessons. I think Ditz thought she was going to begin with violin where she had already arrived with piano but the violin is a much more demanding instrument. It has the questionable reputation of being the only instrument where Ditz has thrown a tantrum about music.
We learned fairly quickly that while Ditz has a good ear she can't count for peanuts. Her idea was to play as fast as possible regardless of what the music said the tempo was in order to reach the end as soon as possible. At about this time the school began a band. Common sense said playing in a band with others would teach Ditz to count if it did nothing else. The trouble was it meant yet another instrument. We forked out for a flute. The first thing Ditz learned was band was not a race; there were no no prizes for finishing first.
Call me slow but three music teachers telling me my child was gifted musically was rather yawn making. The kid made a racket from morning to night & I can assure you it was in no way melodic or pleasant. I thought they were being kind to yet another overfond parent. I really wasn't taking it seriously.
Then, by mistake (only there are no mistakes with God, only God moments) Ditz work shopped with a massed choir last year & did 2 performances. She loved everything about performing & began the slow dripping tap performance again about how much she'd enjoyed it, how much she'd learnt & wouldn't it be great if...? OK, so I looked up the lady in charge. She teaches privately & has her own choirs ~ only we're not allowed to call them choirs; they're ensembles. She auditions her choirs; you don't just join one. So I told Ditz, Go ahead & audition! I thought that would be the end of it. For all her outrageous extroversion at home Ditz is rarely outlandish in public. She chose a Nelly Furtado song, one with difficult changes in tempo & key. We'd no idea about how to put together a backing track so Ditz had to sing a Capella. She'd never suffered from nerves in her life until we were driving into town for her audition. Suddenly the nerves hit. I thought she was really going to lose it for Ditz doesn't do anything by halves. She didn't. Ditz wanted this badly enough that the prima donna who can make my life take on a nightmarish quality came to the fore in her proper environment. She gave it everything & got her place in the choir.
I was surprised but you know, so Ditzy. Then the looks started. Ditz is singing with them! Um, well, yes. Really?! Wow! Huh? It's taken months but I think I finally get it. Ditz is good. Oh! It has finally sunk in that this is a very, very select choir. Many audition; few are chosen.
Now I can look back & see God's thumbprints just everywhere. If I 'd thought myself mathematically competent I would never have looked for a piano teacher. Piano has given Ditz the strong visuals she needs as a visual /spatial learner. Violin has developed her ear. Flute she loves & is really good at & will be on of the two instruments she needs to get into music college. Voice is her 2nd *instrument* & she loves to sing. In fact she rarely stops.
I don't know what God has in mind for this child but so far it's been some ride!


Julie said...

My daughter sings beautifully too. She loves it! The first time she sang in public she nearly ran off the stage. I found her in the bathroom heaving and crying. That was 2 years ago. On Sunday, her Youth Group did a variety show. Marissa sang a duet with one of the girls and was the lead singer on the worship team. I almost cried she was so good!

Marbel said...

What a great story! Don't you love it when you can see the hand of God in your life/your children's lives?

Christy said...

Awesome story. The Lord uses our weaknesses to show Himself strong.

Mrs. Darling said...

Some day maybe Tink will be good at it too. sigh

Heidi said...

That is so neat! I love reading about the unfolding of God's plan in people's lives...