Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Summer idyll

So much going on these days, despite the laziness of the summer.

TZ is taking drum lessons through a local music school, which we both find exciting and incredibly frustrating. Of course it's great fun to finally get/give him what he's been begging for for years, and he likes his teacher and has been all smiles after each of the three lessons he's had so far. It's the practice part that's (already) killing us. He's only got to practice fifteen minutes a day, and two out of seven days of the week, it's a pretty productive time. The other five practice sessions are excruciating.

Mostly it starts off with TZ just banging out approximations of his favorite rhythms on the pad, and me interrupting and reminding him to start off with his warm-up patterns. Which he does, but not without frequent breaks to go back to his favorites, and me reminding him again and again to focus. At some point, he reaches a pattern that he can't reproduce properly because he doesn't count or pay attention to tempo, meter, or note values. So I stop him and correct him, he resists, does it wrong again, I correct him again and suggest trying it slower, he stalls, does it fast and wrong again, I try to count it out for him, he gets mad...and we go 'round and 'round until we are both about to strangle each other and I am ready to call the music school and ask for a refund (I've already paid for lessons until next January).

I have frequent flashbacks to my own struggles with my mother at the piano--I feel as if TZ and I are replaying my own life, with him in my role and myself in my mother's. This has happened before, of course, but never with such startling clarity. I think to myself, should I ease up, back off? And then I think, impossible! How can I let him sit there and blithely "practice" almost everything wrong? It feels irresponsible. Then I think, maybe he's too young, still? Any advice out there?

1 comment:

  1. even if he's not doing it correctly- it's okay. just leave it up to him and he will figure it out. he may not figure it out today, tomorrow, or the next....but eventually he will. if he loses interest, giving him until january is a good amount of time to find out if he really wants to continue.

    don't think of it as practice, just play the drums and rock out.

    or maybe go outside when he's practicing and listen from the garden.

    let it be his thing and if he asks you for help, give it, and then move on to something else.