My little grandaughter, Naomi, turns one this week. I can hardly believe it is already a year since that day my heart sang with her arrival. We have seen her grow and develop almost every week when we would go and babysit for a few hours, and there have been other wonderful times together too, each one special. So much learning in one year!
For me the year has been going by so fast. Someone said recently that life is like a roll of toilet paper – it gets faster towards the end. Not a flattering description, but the imagery seems pretty realistic. There has been so much I had been wanting to get done that isn’t there yet, but as I reflect back on the year I can at least acknowledge that progress is happening.
When my music pupils get to the end of a tutor book I usually have them revise from the beginning and play through all the pieces independently before they move on. This is often really helpful. So many times they will comment on the super easy pieces at the beginning and they then realise, without much prompting from me, just how far they have come. As we move through the book we fill in on the parts we might have missed or that needed a bit more attention. If they have been playing more than just the latest piece each week, there is often a much better understanding of what they have learned overall.
So, as you have a think about your or your child’s learning in the past year, what are the big takeaways?
When I think of Naomi I realise that in one year she has made really significant steps, but they didn’t happen overnight. Every day she has been consistently learning about life in the stage she was at and progressively moving on from there. When I think of my music pupils I can see that those who have been consistently learning (even if only a little each week) are the ones showing progress they are proud of.
One of our greatest delights in Naomi is seeing her happy little smile when something clever seems to happen. It’s pretty much the same when I get to witness the pleasure someone gets from the effort they have put into their music and when we both reflect on how far they have come.
But I can’t leave it there. I haven’t told you about the amazing parents Naomi has. What a delight to see them grow and learn along with her, encouraging her every move and watching her develop with delight, despite many sleep-deprived nights. They still have quite a journey to go with so much more of her life ahead yet, but from where I sit I know they are on the right track!
The parents who support their children’s learning as much as possible will have the greatest joy at their progress too. I applaud these folks because enjoying their child’s music with them as they are learning is a lovely thing – just taking an interest each week in the new material and encouraging them to go over it between lessons is a massive part of showing them that it matters to the parent how they are doing. Whatever I can offer at a weekly lesson is worth little without this support on a daily basis. So keep it up if that’s you!
And a lot can happen in a year.