Saturday, January 26, 2013

Not the Pied Piper

I do my best not to criticize Madeline when she practices her flute.  Her biggest problem is she rarely practices.  That old adage that "practice makes perfect" is quite true and you can't expect to play flawlessly or to progress if you only pick up the instrument when it's time for another lesson.

Bryan and I told her last year that she is to practice in her room with the door shut and not while the baby is sleeping.  She doesn't like this arrangement and is always trying to "put on a concert" for us on the rare occasions when she does practice.  I don't think she grasps that you need to practice and rehearse a great deal before you put on a concert.  Anyway, the rule about playing in her room with her door shut is one that my parents had when my brothers and I played in band and I'm certain that it's saturated in wisdom.  They listened to ten years of children learning to play the trumpet [God bless them!], trombone, and flute.  Of course, in our house even with the door shut you still heard every note, just muffled a bit.  In our house, it's possible to have a child playing an instrument in her room and only faintly hear it in the basement or family room.  But, Madeline insists on playing for us.  Bryan and I joke to each other that it's a lesson in patience.

Now if Oscar had a say in any of this flute playing business he'd veto the entire thing.  He's not a fan at all.  If she's playing well he's willing to tolerate it a bit but after a few minutes he starts to get agitated.  Now he could just walk away and go somewhere where the audio assault is not as loud, but he chooses to sit at her feet and give her his opinion.  He'll give little grumbles and whimpers as she hits notes that if they were cartons of milk they would be curdled messes.  But some notes are enough to set him off on a howling streak.  So in a way, Madeline has her own music critic.  If she's playing well, he'll sit as quietly as he can at her feet and make very low sounds of discontent.  Madeline gets angry with him, tells him to shush or go away, but he apparently feels duty bound to stand sentry next to the source of his audio enemy.  On more than a few occasions she has asked Bryan and I to make him stop, but you can't reason with a dog, and honestly, his complaints were not unfounded.  He was merely stating what the rest of us were thinking.

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