I am at the Chicago Suzuki Institute with Middle and Youngest this week. The week began with a Play-In, a staple of institutes, festivals, and workshops. Neither a class nor a performance, it is a chance for everybody--of all levels and ages--to get together to play the music we have in common.
My head is full, watching.
Thinking about how hearing a large group of children playing "Twinkle" still makes me want to cry. Thinking about how much this music is a part of me. Thinking about how glad I am my girls get to experience this.
Because I don't feel ready for this week. Pretty much every insecurity you could imagine or invent has swept over me today. And this is a Suzuki environment, which is about nurturing, and non-competitiveness, and developing more noble human beings through music (not just the kids but the parents, too.) I know that all these thoughts roiling inside are not what this is supposed to be about. Which adds to the mess in my head.
But then there's this: my girls are standing on a stage right now, playing with a large group of violinists they've never met. They're engaged and having fun and learning and I get to sit back and listen to the fabulous teachers here draw the work and the music and all that other good stuff out of them. It's all so alive and I want to absorb everything I can.
The accompanist begins the introduction to "Humoresque" by Dvorak, and Youngest looks out at me. Do I know this one? I shake my head no and she sits down to listen. She's heard the piece so much she feels like she can play it. Later in the evening she will walk through the cafeteria whistling a piece she fights me tooth and nail about reviewing. Middle loves orchestra so much she could burst. Both girls are excited to play.
We are here. We get to be here. All the insecurities are still here, too, but whatever. As my mom texted me earlier in the day, "That's why you're there." She would know, she did this, too. (And if you ask, she might even tell you what a beast I was about practicing.)
I know this about myself: when I can sit with the insecurity and imperfection, and be honest about it but not let it eat me alive, there is room to absorb and learn and grow. Much more, I'm sure, than if I felt I had it all together, all figured out, all neatly-handled.
I also know this: every family here has a story behind it--difficulties and triumphs, weaknesses and strengths. But we're all here together for this. What can we do besides play it in--play the music into our heads and hearts, and let it sink deep?
Eyes and ears wide open.
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