My life has always been my music, it’s always come first, but the music ain’t worth nothing if you can’t lay it on the public. The main thing is to live for that audience, ’cause what you’re there for is to please the people.—Louis Armstrong
December is pretty hectic for Mom and Dad, but particularly for Mom. Our 13-year-old daughter is a budding violinist and the normal months are filled with driving back and forth to music lessons twice a week, Royal College of Music all day on Saturday, and helping organise school issues around practice time. But December takes it up another notch. December seems to be solo concert time.
This December, Stephanie had three solo concerts within a very short time span and with all the preparation, hours of practice late into the night, neighbours banging on the walls at 11pm, occasional screaming matches when things weren’t going well, for both daughter and mother (Dad hid out in his office), the tsunami of stress was building up to a crescendo.
It was either going to wreak havoc or carry her to new heights. Not much in between.
I guess all parents want their children to be better than they were, on all fronts it seems. Better at school, better confidence, better judgement, better looking, better grades, . . . The hard part of parenting is knowing when to push for their sake, and not for yours. The questions flew back and forth between Mom and Dad in the run up to December. “Are we doing the right thing? Should be back off or slow down the pace? Is this really right for her? What about school grades?”
I don’t know any parents who get it 100% right. The hidden perils of parenting.
“Tomorrow’s victory is today’s practice.” ― Chris Bradford, The Way of the Warrior
But, all the practice, tears and tantrums paid off. Her three solo performances were stunning, and the last one, at the National Youth Music Theatre Christmas Concert in St. Paul’s church in Covent Garden was spectacular. She played a shortened version of Pablo Sarasate’s Carmen Fantasy to a standing ovation. Dad let out a sigh of relief, Mom was beaming.
And to top it all off, the Patron of the NYMT is the actor, Jude Law, who spent time congratulating her after the concert. She is still in a daze and can’t really remember what he said to her. In the car on the way home all she could say was: “The most amazing day of my life!”
If you have an interest, take a look at the YouTube clip of her performance:
Tight Lines . . .
John R Childress