Saturday, June 27, 2009

Blown Away By Beethoven

Asa took a piano class at the homeschool resource center last term, they brought in little electronic keyboards and learned some music theory, started to learn to read music, etc. At the end of the term they had a little recital and she played a short piece, it was her 2nd piece of music that she's ever played with two hands. One kid at the recital played a version of Beethoven's 5th, and she fell in love with it and asked me if I could get a copy of the music.

In the week after her class got out, she taught herself to play this. Given that she doesn't fully read music, had never played chords before, and barely knew how to play with two hands, I'm more or less blown away by her playing. Check it out for yourself!!!

Watching her work on this reminded me of something our karate sensei said about diligence, that people who appear to have great talent are sometimes thought to just have a gift, for things to just come easily to them. But in reality such people also work very very hard at what they do, and their success is equally, if not even more driven by their diligence and hard work as by their raw talent. Watching her play this, it would be easy to assume that she is just very musically gifted. Well, of course she is. We've known that since she was an infant and started matching tones and notes with her wee little voice. But she also works very very very very hard at this stuff. Wayne was going nuts with how many times a day she was playing this piece, and I had to remind him that there are thousands of parents out there who would kill for their child to WANT to practice their piano music two dozen times a day. I did count one day, she played this song 27 times. Not all at once. Sometimes she sits down and plays it through several times. Sometimes she would go up to her room and play it on the "pipe organ" setting on her synthesizer keyboard and laugh maniacally like the Phantom of the Opera. Sometimes she would play it and only play each note once (even if the note repeated she would only play it once) and hold each note out really long. None of these are any kind of structured methodology, just her playing around and really having fun with her music.

I have no idea if music will eventually be her life's career, but I absolutely love to see her passion for it, her drive to perfect it, and the completely free way that she approaches it. Today I heard her singing upstairs and she had gotten out the music for the Broadway version of Beauty and the Beast and was simply singing through all of the songs. She doesn't think of this as "practice" and isn't in any way coerced to do this. It's just who she is and what she does. And I for one am totally in awe of her.


Valerie Willman said...

This is why I home-school!

Tamara said...

Wow, that's wonderful! Great job, Asa! I remember when my stepson was in high school and teaching himself how to play Mason Williams' "Classical Gas" on the guitar. Drove me crazy hearing it for hours upon hours every day, but at the same time I was impressed by his focus and dedication. And when he played it as a solo at his high school concert and again for our whole family, I have never been more proud of him!

Warrior said...

wow, this is amazing. I am trying to teach my son the guitar. It's complicated. I only have him every second weekend. School holidays coming so we are hoping to make some progress.
I see where your daughter gets her dilligence from. I been looking at your tri stuff. You are pretty dilligent.