Monday, January 30, 2012

A Big Fish And A Standing Ovation

This littlest one of mine...she is such a firecracker.  You put a goal in front of her, and if it's important to her, she's on it.  And she does not quit until she has accomplished what she set out to do. 

Pulling teeth?  Yes.  She's mastered that.  She went in for her regular cleaning recently, a day after removing a tooth that was, by their estimation, a year and a half early in coming out.  And, yeah, the root on that tooth?  I think it was still tickling her sinus cavity.  I wish I had taken a picture.  The hygienist said in 15 years, she had never seen a child remove a tooth with that length of a root.  She got a little talking to about teeth having a reason for staying in until they are ready to come out, both from her parents and her dentist.  For whatever reason, this girl loves to pull her teeth.  Go figure.  And once she sets her mind to something, she is immovable.  Parental pride?  My cup runneth over.

But when that determination and focus is applied in a positive way?  Oh, it can lead you right into the path of a big fish.

A couple weeks ago, the invitation was opened from her band teacher to start testing on the scales.  There are ten scales they need to pass.  And each one they pass, they get a small, laminated fish ("scale" = "fish", get it??).  Once you pass all ten scales, you get a "big fish".

Head to the wind, this girl buckled down and began mastering her scales on the clarinet.  Today?  She passed her tenth scale and brought home the big fish!  So proud of her.  First in the band to accomplish that in this school year.  I think whatever bizarre musical gene mutated from her father and me has shown up in her as well as her brother.  Will she work it and apply it in the same way?  Time will tell.  But for now, it's fun to see her excel at something!  Way to go, Bethie!

In related news, this scale-conqueror's brother also had a proud musical moment recently.  This weekend was the regional solo contest.  Winning this sends you onto the state competition in April.  He has been working on this solo diligently, had to switch accompanists for this date ~ that's a cool story with the punchline being he was accompanied by a gal I played soccer with for years and was such a small world connection ~ and really poured on the preparation in these last two weeks.  And the result was beautiful.  He played his heart out for an 18 minute and 42 second Mozart solo that just was a thing of beauty.  The adjudicator was fun to watch as I listened.  He followed along for awhile, and then about half way through he tossed the music aside and just leaned back in his chair with a smile and enjoyed the performance.  When it was over, Alex got a standing ovation.  Even though the the audience was half his family, a stranger started the ovation.  And, of course, we had to join in!  That guy came up and shook his hand and told him it was a pleasure to listen to.  How nice!  And then the adjudicator had some very, very flattering words, and talked about how much hard work goes in to preparing a piece like that.  So true, and so nice to have that recognized.

And that performance was enough to send him back to state again this year!  So excited for him!

And the pictures of this occasion?
this is the room he performed in, right before he came in. this is the moment I realized my camera may be a distraction and decided to not take pictures. see?  I can restrain myself!

this is the sheet announcing he's off to state, just after it was hung up in the window.

and this the same sheet that I reached up high and pulled down for him to hold so I could take his picture.  apparently that may have embarrassed him, but if the most I do to embarrass him is love him and be proud of him, we are doing okay! and I did put that paper back in the window.

I'm indeed proud of my little and big music makers!  Big fish, little fish, winner, alternate, whatever...the joy is not in the winning but in watching the dedication and love for music!

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