I got this shot when he was still – a dragonfly on a lilypad – for a moment.
Very proud of the boy yesterday. Well, pretty much always, but especially yesterday.
He has music on Fridays, and on his report cards this year (quarterly) he's been getting a 2, which means something like "he's doing fine, as well as your average second-grade boy" or "consistent progress" or something like that, and it is a perfectly acceptable grade. A "1" would mean "excells" or "rivals Mozart" or the like. He mostly gets 1s and 2s. (This took some adjusting for Bill, because where he teaches, a 1 is the lowest grade, like a D, before failing. Had to give him a paper bag to blow into last year after the very first report card.)
Anyway, he has been getting a 2 in music, probably because he is a good student, quiet, obedient, does not cause trouble or talk while the teacher is talking, etc., but doesn't volunteer much beyond what they're discussing. He's probably a bit on the quiet side if they're singing (unlike Julia, who will be demanding solos and her own dressing room). He's your good, basic kid in his music class.
And this sort of…well…drives my musician husband a little nutty. Because, as you know, if you've been reading my stuff for a while, Alex has been learning to play classical guitar for nearly two years now, and he's doing well. He can read music, he knows what words like "forte" and "pianissimo" mean. And the fact that Alex's music second grade music teacher isn't aware of this kind of makes my husband very………itchy.
Last week, on Friday (not yesterday-Friday, but the one before that), I picked the kids up from school and Alex told me he needed to bring his guitar to school next week because they were studying the String Family in music class, and his teacher had asked if any kids played stringed instruments, and Alex raised his hand and told her he played guitar. Some other kids did, too. And the music teacher said that if they'd like to bring in their instruments to play them for the class, that would be great. So Alex wanted to bring in his guitar. I told him I thought that was awesome, and not a problem, as long as he made sure not to let anyone else play (or play with) (or hold) the guitar, because it wasn't a toy.
"I know, Mom. I know you guys paid…prob'ly….two thousand dollars for it," he said, from the back seat of the truck.
"Um, well, not THAT much, but still, it's not a toy, and we wouldn't want it to break."
"Okay," he said. "I won't let anyone play with it."
I had him tell Bill when we got home, and the conversation pretty much went the same way – that's fine, just don't let anyone touch it.
"Yeah," Alex waved that off, "I know. My mom already told me."
So over the weekend, Alex and Bill discussed what pieces Alex would play (he thought two would be good), and Alex picked "Appalachian Dulcimer" (a folksong from his music book) and (from the same book) an arrangement of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy." He practiced both of them as the week went along, and on Friday morning (yesterday-Friday), he ran through each of them one more time.
And he was a bit nervous. About playing in front of his friends. I flashed back to any time I've ever had to speak or do anything in front of people and my stomach got butterflies in sympathy. I told him to just focus on what he was doing and not even look at the other kids. Just set up his chair and footstool, get his music opened (just for "Ode" – he has the other one memorized), and concentrate on his playing, on counting, and on Daddy's voice in his head. I reminded him he's played in front of people before – for family during the holidays, and at an informal guitar and flute concert of Daddy's just about a year ago. So he could do this.
We put his music in his backpack, and the footstool was in the pocket of his guitar case. Bill had told him to bring along a music stand, but carrying that AND the backpack AND the guitar was a bit much. Alex said he could prop the music on a chair and that would be fine. I brought him to school, gave him one more reminder to keep the guitar out of the way, so no one would trip over it or step on it, and off he went. I also told him he'd do great.
He'd said three other kids played guitar also, so I was kind of wondering how much time there would be for all of them to play. I wondered how Alex would do…hoped he wouldn't get stage fright…hoped he'd end up enjoying the experience.
Bill was home earlier than usual yesterday, so after getting compost for the gardens, we headed over to the school to pick up the kids.
As it turned out, Alex was the only one who brought in an instrument yesterday.
And getting him to recount his elementary school debut was like watching a cactus grow.
"And then what happened? And then what happened?"
He played "Appalachian Dulcimer" first, and then "Ode to Joy." And then his music teacher asked him to play "Ode to Joy" again. We were driving to Lowe's to get some bags of manure during all this, and I could see Bill pretty much BUSTING with pride. I could also read his mind. "HA! What grade are you giving my son now, Miss Music Teacher?" So sweet. So goofy.
From what I gather, Alex wasn't shy about it when the time came to play. He messed up once, a tiny bit, in "Appalachian Dulcimer," but he kept going. No biggie. A seasoned performer now.
We told him we were proud of him. Bill told him several times. And a few more after that. And my sympathetic butterflies have flown away to land in some other mother's stomach.
Of course, just a moment ago he was in here, big grin on his face, gangly arms and legs in constant motion, trying to get me to spell "I cup" and then say "funny colors" right after. Goofball. He's laughing, becasue I am refusing. He thinks this stuff is SO funny.
Seven-year-old bathroom humor and Beethoven.
I love this age.