On being a music lesson mom in December

Peter cello lessonI’ve been sick. So when I woke up one morning this week, I wished I could just skip going to Peter’s cello lesson.

(Nope. Did that last week.)

I decided we’d better go after all!

It’s not that I don’t like music lessons. I do! I mean, after all, I am a music teacher! And a music education advocate!

It’s just that I’m constantly challenged by my health and sleep issues and keeping up with my family, so before-school music lessons and orchestra are sometimes a little challenging to get to.

But music matters to me, so we go.

Practicing, on the other hand, seems to be more elusive.

I know. Why do lessons if you don’t practice?

A valid question.

At this stage in my mothering, I feel as much guilt as ever about my children not practicing. Practicing with them is not my strength. Balancing all of my families needs (clean clothing, food on the table, a house that is somewhat clean, physical/emotional/spiritual health) along with their education (homework, music, sports, personal management/self-reliance, etc.) and maintaining my own health is just something I have not gotten down to a science. I’m more like a butterfly! I flit from one thing to the next, touching down lightly in a sort of managerial/appreciation fashion. But practicing everyday with my younger children? I am so not there. So not.

Would I like to be? Mostly.

I know it is annoying to music teachers to have children whose parents don’t do what they are supposed to do. But part of learning to make music is learning to practice on your own, too. So we’re really excelling in that area! Hooray for something positive!

I will say that after having taken children to music lessons for the past 16 years, I have interacted with many different music teachers (Kindermusik, violin, piano, harp, voice, flute, bagpipes, cello). My favorite teachers are the ones who are kind and compassionate. They understand big families. They understand moms who are not “perfect” Suzuki moms. They understand that music may not be the number one priority in my life. What is my number one priority in life? Basically, God and love at home. I want my children to know that they are children of God and that He loves them and that I love them. I want my husband to feel that, too. And there is just this balance of trying to maintain that big picture that means things don’t go like clockwork everyday.

Especially in December.

I could list what has been happening in our family in the last 3 weeks. Should I? Would that be boring? Annoying? I’ll just say life has been full (as always) and had its challenges (as always), which means that even though we have a schedule, it is always changing. And you know how the holiday season is with all of its added performances and parties. And then there’s the flu. So getting practicing done with children? Practically unheard of.

Well, that’s the story for today. Just thought I’d write it down so that my daughters (and sons) can read it when they are having a challenging time helping their children with practicing during December, or any other month, for that matter. When they look at what they learned to do, they will see that in the long run, it was OK. They will see that they learned to make, enjoy, and appreciate music even with all of our imperfect practicing. And so they’ll keep trying.

And maybe they’ll do even better than I did.

Stand on my shoulders, that’s what Mom (and Isaac Newton) said.

Happy Practicing (or Simply Keeping Perspective or Feeling Understood, Take Your Pick),

Liz 🙂



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