“The Long Game” – noun- active participation in achieving goals which may take some time.
Let me tell you a story.
I grew up in a musical home with my mother playing piano all the time and being the organist at our church. She made a deal with me when I was a little girl that I’d take piano lessons for six years because that’s how long she took piano lessons. Sounds like a dubious deal to make with a six year old, no?
I was a disaster of a student. I don’t even remember my first piano teacher because I wasn’t with her very long. All told, I think I went through 3-4 teachers my first year of lessons. I don’t remember, I just know it was a lot. I hated to practice, but dutifully, Mom would set the microwave time for 30 minutes, and I’d trudge through my books. We made a deal, a deal I wasn’t allowed to break. My mom pretty much had to hog tie me to the piano bench for at least the first two years of lessons, but she persisted.
One of those first unlucky piano teachers of mine ended up also being my elementary school music teacher, then middle and high school band director. Mrs. Parker was one of the loudest voices in my music education (not only because there was a portable speaker she carried around) because she encouraged me to do what I do.
Fast forward 31 years from my first piano lesson to last weekend.
Mrs. P. had kids. One of those kids moved from our hometown in Ohio to Orlando where she lived with me whilst getting settled. She fell in love, got engaged, and got married. Who do you suppose played the piano for their wedding ceremony? Me. The disaster of a piano student who turned into a disaster of a teenager, who barely made it through college with a music degree because I hated it so much. But I loved music. I kept going because I loved music so deeply that I couldn’t imagine living a day of my life without making music. Being able to close the loop on my music education is such a way isn’t possible to put into words. It was fulfillment of my destiny. Cheesy, I know. Don’t judge me.
My teacher played the long game with me. So did my mom. God bless them both.
Moral of the story
Playing an instrument or learning to sing isn’t instant. Yes, we can teach things instantly. Learning, really learning the craft of making music takes years, a lifetime even. We ask you to make at least a year long commitment because it takes developing brains a long time to integrate gross and fine motor skills with hand/eye coordination. Mastery requires repetition to build motor pathways (muscle memory). We need time to adapt to each students’ learning style. It takes practice, patience, and getting through the periods of forcing your kiddo onto the bench, even if it’s only for 10 minutes, or having them sing their warmups in the car on the way to school. Music lessons are a long game.
Learning to be a musician is hard work that isn’t part of the comfort zone of activities. It’s a lot of nervous recitals, “you need to practice more” notes, “That was great; do it agains”. It’s not always going to be fun and it won’t be easy. But I promise you this, if you play the long game with us, the reward is a lifetime of joy.