Recently I attended a "Beginners Band Concert." The players consisted of fourth grade students eager to perform publicly for the first time. Parents, grandparents and friends sat in the bleachers waiting for the performance to begin. The children were all dressed in clean, neat clothes, hair combed with faces scrubbed. In other words they looked adorable if not a little nervous. Miss E, the band director, seemed calm, smiling to her students and the audience alike. She greeted the audience and began to explain the grueling process of learning to play an instrument. Miss E reminded her audience about developing breathing techniques, keeping a good rhythm and learning to focus on the music as well as on her. She then reminded us how the students needed to adjust to the added burden of holding the instrument in small hands and learning to manipulate their mouths correctly in order to make the proper sounds.
Miss E is a very enthusiastic teacher and she shared with us how much her students had learned in one school year. She then said they were going to play the first thing they learned. She turned to her students, nodded to them to be ready and she stepped up on her podium. Her arms came up and with quick precision as her hands came together, a giant squawk came from the students and when she used her down motion to complete the beat, the squawk stopped.
The kids were smiling, Miss E. was smiling and the audience laughed. The students held up their mouth pieces and Miss E. told us what progress it was for kids to learn to make a sound through their mouth pieces. One squawk, in unison, held for the correct amount of time, with an abrupt stop just as the instructor had motioned. She then progressed to the first note, then to the first set of three notes, and so on. After that I thought the concert would begin, but Miss E. invited, or rather challenged the parents to come down and try playing their children's instruments. They were to play "Mary Had A Little Lamb."
A nervous laughed resounded through the crowd but the parents were good sports and descended on the students. Each child showed a parent how to hold the instrument, how to manipulate the few notes and to read the music. After a few moments Miss E. decided they had learned enough and tapped her stand to gain everyone's attention. Once again she looked over her band, now full of adults with children standing by their sides. She stepped up on her podium, brought her arms up and kept up a wonderfully smooth beat to the squeaking and bleating that followed. Cheeks puffed out, faces grew red from exertion and Miss E. kept directing the beat as the kids earnestly helped their parents keep track of where they were on the page. The audience doubled over laughing.
A wonderful concert by the children followed the mayhem. The kids performed with enthusiasm and everyone left the gmn a little wiser.
So you may wonder what this has to do with writers. Well, everything, besides sharing a story with you, it's a reminder that learning a craft is never easy. And instead of getting crumpy at the process, relax and enjoy the progress you have made. Whatever level your writing is at right now, take a moment to look back and enjoy those bumbling moments for what they were ~ learning to create!
Til next time ~