Last week I got really upset in my lesson. Truth be told, I was probably a bit sleep deprived, and I tend towards the weepy side when I am tired. But I had had a string of good lessons, and then all of a sudden, this one was terrible! I was so frustrated, and finally I pulled the bassoon out of my mouth and in my fit of rage yelled “Why is this so damn hard?” Ms. Reynolds just smiled at me for an instant and said, “Because it is hard, Jolene.”
I had never had a teacher say that to me before. Not, “Well, you aren’t practicing enough, that’s why you can’t play it,” or “Because you don’t have the skills or focus to play this.” Just–“It’s hard.” For some reason (perhaps it was the way she said it), it was probably the most comforting thing I had heard in a while. It wasn’t an indictment, or an accusatory statement of how well or how much I was practicing. Yet somehow, contained in that same statement was a sense that she too, knew it was hard, and that I, like my teacher would overcome the obstacle (in this case, it was Piard….damn him).
As I walked away from that lesson, I began to think about my practice time, and my past lessons with various teachers. Perhaps I had never admitted to myself that sometimes, music was just hard. The bassoon is…. Just. Hard. For some reason, it just took a load off of my shoulders. Not to say that this gives me a free pass to not play well, that’s not what I mean. But that, if something takes a little more time than I think it should, it just means that I have to work a little bit more. It’s hard. Not insurmountable.
I could go on about how the harder it is, the sweeter the victory…blah blah blah. But I’ll spare you the trite cheerleading of an overworked student musician.