I wish I had caught the announcement too. She’s the only one of my children who has ever stood up proud and confident at a recital and told everyone her name and what she is going to play. Okay, Erin does announce just fine now, after years of being pressured into it. But she certainly didn’t prior to age 10. For Fiona it was like it was second nature. No big deal.
Anyway, she had a lovely time performing. The students drew lots for performance order and she was 29 out of 31, but most selections were short and she was not at all impatient.
This week I noticed what was written inside the cover of the book this little piece is published in. It says “Erin April 2000.” It took me back to my first year as a piano parent. Erin had started piano the October before, when she was almost six, the same timing as Fiona. Erin’s progress on piano at that age had startled me. She went very quickly through her first primer book … and then her second, and third, and eventually on into this book, the Royal Conservatory Introductory (pre-Grade-1) album. I was an shocked and delighted observer of all this rich musical learning. It was the first time I’d been in that situation and I was surprised almost every week by how she was gobbling up the learning.
Fiona’s piano learning since starting lessons last October is something I’ve been quite proud of, but it hasn’t surprised me the way Erin’s did. Maybe over the past nine years I’ve become jaded and much harder to surprise. Because it’s clear from the date inside the front of the book that Fiona has covered the same ground Erin did but at double the pace. Double a pace that stunned me 9 years ago.
I don’t think I’m jaded, though, not really. I think I just appreciate children’s amazing learning as natural and inevitable. It’s different for each of them, of course. Pace, depth of mastery, direction of interests, creativity, intuitiveness, temperament, learning style, all these things vary from child to child. But the process of a child learning is always amazing. And I’m no longer suprised, nor as prone to make comparisons with others. I take it all in happily, enjoying the journey, but not fussing over the speedometer.