Thursday, December 12, 2013

Learning Takes Time

When Polish pianist Ignace Jan Paderewsky played before Queen Victoria, he won her enthusiastic approval. "Mr. Paderewsky," she exclaimed, "you are a genius." Paderewsky shook his head. "Perhaps, Your Majesty, but before that I was a drudge," he replied, alluding to the number of hours he spent practicing every day. 
I'm learning- slowly- to play Canon in D on the piano right now. It's so slow progress because my practice time is limited and divided among several endeavors. But I'm working on it and measure by measure I'm learning it. 

Of course a more experienced pianist would have no problem with this song. But it's not really fair to compare my four years playing experience (as an adult) to someone else's decades of playing, is it? We all start as beginners. And we slowly practice and learn and get better. 

photo courtesy of stock images/

This isn't just for playing the piano. It's true for mastering any new skill really. And yet I often forget this when I'm teaching my children. If I need time and practice to learn something new, why wouldn't my one and three year olds? 

It's easy to get frustrated when I'm explaining and demonstrating the same concept over and over.  But it's like learning Canon in D. Repeat short bar measures over and over until it's mastered. Then add a little more. Then practice the part that's already learned so you don't forget it. And slowly add more. I don't expect myself to play the whole song competently when I first sit down with the music. Neither should I expect my children to learn new concepts in one day. Learning takes time. 

So here's to more patience. For me and my children. 

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