Tuesday, January 30, 2007

If at First You Don't Succeed ...

"Well, I wouldn't say that is the best choice," my music teacher diplomatically stated.

I sat on the wooden piano bench, shoulders haunched. I had been on my feet all day, cooking food, cleaning the house and chasing after three active children. It was nearly 10pm and I was in no mood to analyse fugues or write introvertible counterpoint.

"What would you suggest?" I quietly asked as I reached for my well-loved eraser.

My teacher paused. "You know," she said, "In Russia my teachers often used the following phrase..." She rattled off a sentence in Russian, "It means something like this: 'You must learn from your mistakes'."

I sighed and stared at my music homework. The page was a mess of scribbles, eraser smudges and chicken scratch. For someone who claimed to be a piano teacher, my understanding of harmony and counterpoint was depressingly meager. I removed my glasses and rubbed the bridge of my nose.

"Okay," I said, "Let's start again at the beginning..."


My music lessons this year have been a humbling experience, to say the least. Every Tuesday night I steel myself for an onslaught of (honest) criticism. I can't remember the last time I have felt so academically inept. Has bearing children caused my brain to turn to jello? Some days I wonder.

This year God has been teaching me an important truth: A wise woman learns from her mistakes. As well, a humble woman can admit she doesn't know everything and is willing to learn and grow. God is working on my pride. Ouch!

In the past, I was often afraid to try new things because I was scared to fail. I am now learning that I don't need to be perfect. I can try and fail, learn from my mistakes, and try again. Learning is a process. Whether I am making a pie or writing a fugue, I must swallow my pride and be willing to mess up a few times. What's the worst that could happen?

I sit here tonight nursing my bruised pride once again. Why do I even bother taking music lessons? God is molding and stretching me. I'll likely not use seventeenth century counterpoint for any practical purposes. The life-lessons I am learning, however, are priceless.


blackpurl said...

I will ask at school about this phrase! I am sure they have told us it before. I admire you for learning the piano as an adult. I started learning Russian when we moved here last year and somedays I wonder why I am torturing myself!

Lindsay Inkster said...

I took a brief look at your ministry's website, Alida. I cannot imagine moving my family away from Canada and to a foreign country. Where are you from originally?