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"I just need space to be overwhelmed."

Her breaking point, it turned out, was Kreutzer #11.

Somehow the parenting lessons that are the most obvious are the easiest to forget. After a concerto competition, a three week-long music festival, and a busy chamber music workshop, my daughter was done. Like, really done.

But since her teacher just gave her the Kreutzer #11 to start working on, I jumped into helping her map out all the shifts. When she began to kvetch, I persisted trying to show her all the little details. Predictably a tearful meltdown ensued.

Had I spent a moment to take stock of all that had transpired over the last several weeks, I could have said, “You know, the Kreutzer can wait. Let’s do something fun.” Instead, I pushed a little too hard. And created for myself a mini refresher course in being a more fully aware violin parent. I (re-)learned:

  • Practice doesn’t happen in vacuum. Take stock of all their current events. Make accommodations.
  • Stamina builds slowly. Be patient with them, so they learn to be patient with themselves.
  • There’s always tomorrow. If today isn’t a good day for the hard stuff, try again tomorrow.

And the postscript is even more telling. After a night’s rest and a little sunshine, she nailed all those little details in her study.

Written by:

Alan is the main practice partner and accompanist for a young violinist.