Saturday, June 26, 2021

Ephemeral Joys

The blackberries are in!  Every day for the past 2 weeks, I have communed with nature in my urban oasis.  I have wild blackberries growing in my garden, and each day more and more are ready to pluck from the vine.  I have also harvested the first of many zucchinis, as well as fresh mint and basil.  These last 3 will last all summer, but the blackberries are ephemeral.  

Sort of like the elation of a Spring Recital, especially this year.  We had been online for 15 months.  All "public" performances were prerecorded and posted to Facebook.  Sonatina Festival 2020, Spring Recital 2020, Halloween Recital 2020,  Beethoven's Big Birthday Bash on December 16th, 2020, Sonatina Festival 2021, we performed in the privacy of our own homes, probably numerous times, and chose the best recordings to post on Facebook.  Finally, in June 2021, we gathered to make music together, to share the music we had learned over the past season, and to receive applause and accolades for our artistry.

My kids used their pandemic time well and applied themselves to their music studies.  Although the whole online experience was less than ideal, and something I hope never to have to experience again, the time away from baseball and soccer, from playdates and school field trips, allowed for more opportunity to focus on the piano and to accept challenges that perhaps would have been scoffed at a year earlier.  

We all learned a lot about ourselves, about music, about focus, to name just a few lessons.  And quite honestly, I did not know what to expect come recital time.  I had not had in-person lessons with these kids until the week before the recital.  The kids who regularly practice on electric keyboards did not have much opportunity to play on an acoustic piano before the recital.  We didn't have piano class or a dress rehearsal, but jumped right in, cold turkey.  

And they did it!  I was so proud of these young musicians, ages 8 - 16, for their perseverance, their focus, their courage to perform after 15 months of isolation.  I admit, it was not the best recital.  There were flaws, glitches, music that blew off the music stand.  Concert etiquette needs a review -- when and how to bow.  

But the joy of the moment carried me, and I hope my young students, through the day.  They could rest on the laurels for a bit, all performance worries set aside for now.  They did their best, and their best is enough.  And now, we begin again, learning mew music, new techniques, accepting new challenges for the next public performance.  Their best will get better, because they persevered through the pandemic.  They stayed true to their art.  

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