Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Stand There and Take It

For the last four years (give or take) Bethany has taken violin lessons from a man named John Shin.  For most of that time he came to our house for her lessons, which was completely lovely.  It was a trick to keep the house quiet during the hour long lesson, but we'd sequester ourselves up in my room and it worked pretty well.  This year he has been teaching up at the University of Utah, so Bethany hops on a TRAX train on Fridays and practices being a college student.
On President's Day she had a rehearsal with her accompanist for an upcoming recital.  Her teacher is a brilliant violinist.  The pianist was spectacular.  And Bethany is pretty darn good for a 15 year old girl, but nowhere near their levels.
And yet...
She got out her violin and started to put her concerto together with the pianist.  It was a bit of a train wreck right at first.  But there she stayed.  They told her what she was doing wrong-- "you're coming in too early", "you're flat in that part", "you need to move your body more", etc.
Two grown men, both professional musicians listening to hear her do something they could correct.
And she just stood there and took it.
Most adults I know can't handle that kind of in-your-face criticism and pressure.  To be playing a violin solo is so open and exposed, so vulnerable.  To do that as a teenager!  When I was in band in high school, my whole goal was to completely avoid any individual notice whatsoever! In that one hour long rehearsal I was so, so proud of Bethany.  She didn't take any of the criticism personally.  She didn't cry, she didn't get defensive.
And that is why she is continuing to improve.
When I asked her about it afterwards, she said, "What else would you do?  They know more than I do, so I have to listen to them and do what they say".
I'm thinking I could take a page out of her book.
Here is the video of her recital.  She wasn't particularly pleased with this performance, but we were very proud of her and especially pleased with her attitude and progress.

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