When I’m not performing, writing songs or fiction, working on the farm, or holding down the Day Job, I teach music lessons. It’s a rough go most of the time, what with scheduling woes, short time slots, and a lot of information to cover. Sometimes the kids aren’t interested; forced into it by their parents, they are merely going through the motions. Sometimes the kids are very excited by the idea of being a musician, but either don’t understand the amount of work involved or their ambitions are bigger than their prowess…
Some afternoons are hard to get through. Sometimes I walk out of a session thinking, “WHAT am I doing?” It’s rough.
And then there are days like today.
I have a young student. She’s a bright girl, and boy does she love her flaming pink 3/4 guitar. She’s always eager, always ready, and she has quite the healthy dose of talent to go along with her desire to learn. Whatever I throw at her, she soaks up. I’ve been teaching her for a few months now, and I was seriously starting to wonder if there was anything she wouldn’t get on the first try…
Today, things started getting tough. But this little girl just furrowed her brow and asked for more.
No hesitation, no self doubt. She admitted the exercise was “tough,” but she still asked for “more.” She amazes me and makes me smile. I know so many adults who, at the first sign of difficulty, say “I can’t” (myself included, though I try hard not to). I know so many adult who simply give up on their dreams when they find out it might be difficult.
Not this wonderful little girl. “More,” she says with an emphatic nod. She knows she can do it with practice, and her desire to achieve outweighs the present difficulty. She informed me that she will be playing and singing “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” for her school talent show. “I even have it memorized,” she said. “Want to hear?”
And be damned if she played it perfect for me right then and there.
Whether she knows it or not, she’s an inspiration to me, and I’m easily twice her age. Twice her age, dealing with bills and insurance and the rigors of finding paying gigs and trying to sell my art in a poor economy. Feeling tired. Feeling marginalized. Feeling out of place and like I’m treading water.
And there’s this little girl who looks at a difficulty and simply asks for “more.”
It’s a humbling lesson in persistence.