Piano Recital

Everything Emily does is good. And this isn’t parent talk. Sure, it’s my job to think she is fantastic, but honestly, most things come easy to her. I totally get it. I have been that way my whole life. Good at everything, great at nothing. The downside of things coming easy is when they get tough, it’s also easy to bail. Yesterday, Emily had a piano recital, and I had zero doubt she would do well. I was wrong.

Emily gets signed up for lots of extracurricular activities. Cheer, coding, gymnastics, art, and now, piano. Although she’s not the most flexible little girl on the planet, she does well with the performing bits of cheer and gymnastics. She has no problem with nerves and being in front of a crowd. She has also excelled in art with clear directions and an end goal. Make this painting, and do it this way. She is great at that.

I have wanted to learn piano since I was her age. I think it’s a beautiful and deeply complex instrument. I was excited when Kelly signed her up for piano this year. Not only would I get to hear her play, but I would have a keyboard in the house, and maybe I could learn to play, too. Emily was more excited her friend Solei was in the class. In fact, it was a requirement. She refused to go until she learned Solei was signed up too.

Emily begins piano class, and the weeks go on. We never hear about how she likes it, but we hear tons about dropping Solie home after class. We should get a keyboard, but they are expensive, and the one we almost buy goes from deep sale to full price, making it a tougher purchase. I wait for it to go on sale again. It doesn’t. More weeks go by, and we get a notice class is ending, and a recital is coming up. Emily is going to perform.

Yesterday was the day—the recital. Emily still isn’t excited or showing any emotion, really. It’s just another Tuesday. I invite my dad to come, and we speed down to the school to make it by 3:50 pm. We get in there just in time, and Kelly has saved seats right up front. Also up front is a class of about 15 kids sitting on the floor. It’s up to them to raise their hand when they want to go next. Emily, usually very competitive, would be the first to raise her hand. Not this recital.

While sitting there watching the other kids play, I again had zero doubt Emily would perform well. She always does. But, this time is weird. We didn’t have a keyboard at home, and I’ve never once heard her practice. Finally, every kid plays, and Emily can tell she has no more time to stall. She isn’t last to raise her hand, but second to. She gets up to perform, and it’s not great. She is slow and much more focused on hitting every note than any form of musicality. Piano didn’t come easy to her.

It was weird to see her struggle. I blame myself. I should have bought the keyboard at full price so she could practice at home. I knew today’s struggle would kill any desire to play piano again. It didn’t come easy, so it’s easy to bail. I asked afterward if she wanted to join the next piano class, and she simply said, “No, too hard.” She did point to her coding class and said, “Look, Daddy, coding,” almost as a Hey, I know I didn’t crush it today, but coding is coming up, and I will be there. She said she wanted to make a new Mario Odyssey.

I do want her to love coding. It’s that part of parenting where you want to see yourself in them. And, maybe the technical part will come easy. The literal 1s and 0s. But I cannot expect the passion part to come without a little nurturing. We have to get the program on her computer at home so she can practice. We have to keep in touch with how she’s doing. If there is some sort of coding recital, I want her to be as excited to perform and show off her work as I am to see it. And that’s just as much on me as it is on her.


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