I got a little taste of my own medicine this week.
Our Christmas piano recital was at the beginning of December so we were hot and heavy into practicing and polishing songs in the days leading up to it. Bethany has played her violin with the Ward and then Stake choir several times over the past few months. I regularly help her with her practicing by accompanying her on the piano or just listening. I try to be encouraging and praise the kids when they work really hard on a piece or play something really well. But I also don't really sugar-coat it if they are playing junk. If they aren't trying very hard or not focusing I will call them on it and have them redo things. My efforts and comments are not always appreciated-- if you can imagine that!
If the kids ask me to listen and tell them how it was, I will tell them how it was. Good or bad. They know I'll tell them what I really think.
Last Sunday I played a piano solo in Sacrament meeting of O Holy Night. I know music and feel comfortable playing and teaching, but I am not a concert pianist. But every December I give myself a gift of time to practice a harder song and really work it up. The threat of public performance keeps me motivated to keep practicing. So I volunteered to play this song in church.
I was quite neglecting my home and family last week as I squeezed in as much practice time as I could. I was pretty nervous. Mostly because playing in church is different from playing in other places. In church you really want the music to bring the spirit in. Mistakes draw attention away from the music and onto the performer. I didn't want the song to be about me, but about Christ and the spirit of Christmas. I really felt like I did all I could have to prepare and forced myself to calm down, not pass out and play my piece.
Afterwards Clark said to me, "Mom, you did a good job. It wasn't perfect, but it was good."
Me: Thank you, I think.
Clark: Do you want me to tell you how many mistakes I counted?
Me: No, not really.
Clark: Okay. I counted ten mistakes. Maybe other people didn't notice them, but there were a few pauses where they weren't supposed to be and a few bad notes.
Hmm. I suppose you have been trained well, my boy. Now be quiet.