Last evening my wife and I attended a concert that was the culmination of a musical string camp nearby. One of our friends had a key role in leading some of the groups, so we thought it would be fun to attend.
It was amazing seeing very young children just learning to play violins that couldn’t have been more than 14-16 inches long from one end to the other. Seeing the stage lined with children and youth performing what they learned during the week was inspiring. This year’s camp also included handbells, so it was equally impressive to see 31 children filling the stage playing handbells. The harps were beautiful as only harps can be.
The performances generally went from less experienced to more experienced. While that coincided largely with age from younger to older, that wasn’t always the case. Some groups had a surprising age range within them.
While watching the performances, I couldn’t help but draw parallels to learning we all experience. Those in the most advanced group who performed truly beautiful pieces last night didn’t start with that ability. At one point they were just like those newer to their instruments. Because they keep rehearsing, they keep getting better, and if they will continue to work hard, they will continue to improve.
The children I saw last night didn’t seem self-conscious about their ability level or the fact that they were performing in a large chapel with many people watching and cameras rolling. They just did their best and graciously accepted the applause of the audience.
Unlike the children last night, at times I see adults in work or other settings who think they need to be nearly perfect at something before they are willing to be seen by others doing that task. Likewise, some people seem to think they are entitled to be in that most advanced group with all the glory it brings even though they haven’t put in the time and effort to earn that right.
To quote a joke older than me, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” The answer: “Practice, practice, practice.”
Leap year lesson #163 is You must start at the beginning.