Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Another Recital, Another Box of Kleenex

Benny's violin recital was on Saturday. Another semester is gone, and he's hurtling toward competence on his instrument. Somebody hold me.

Everyone's favorite part of the show is always the teeny little kids. We all hope someone will pull up his shirt and show his bellybutton, or pick his nose with his tuning pegs, or sit on his classmate and make her squawk. This is just true, in every type of kid performance. The kindergarten pageant always holds more interest than the fifth grade one. Do we really get suspenseful and fluttery about the 10 year old who has clocked 15 recitals now, and has no surprises left, who will dutifully and virtuously play her solo without flaw? Well, no. Not even the mother of such a child can muster nerves for that experience.

Benny is now in that group. Okay, he's only six, and there's still a strong possibility that he will scratch his bottom with his bow, or start talking about his biceps in the middle of his group's performance, but he is now in that oldest group, that group that everyone politely clucks for, but no one weeps over. Except me of course. I was weeping. I sniffled when the tiny little people were up there showing how they'd learned to hold the violin, and how to take a bow, and how to sing the musical alphabet, and I leaked tears when Benny's group did their gavottes and bourrees. And when the whole game of them got up to play a final rendition of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" I was in need of a bucket to hold my tissue. That's just how I am. Moved.

That's a picture of all the Academy of Music students on stage together playing Twinkle, the Suzuki anthem. Benny's teacher, Sarah Ford, has shepherded him with total patience and love from the days where he was a nose-picker who could only bow to these days recently where he's up there casually playing with the big kids. Bless her. I'm so grateful.

It's the Suzuki way to play all the songs you know, and sit down when other kids are playing a song you can't play yet. Benny played all the songs. He led his group (the book 2 and 3 group) in a song, demonstrating everything they've been learning this year in their group class. His group teacher, Cathy Stevens, has been teaching them how to make eye contact, how to move your body to direct a group, how to show dynamics and pauses and generally how to communicate the phrasing you want to a group who's playing along with you. It's a great thing to learn, along with all the right notes and bowing and whatnot. Here's Benny leading his group:

So this time, I didn't get to writhe with pride because my little darling stayed on the stage and faced the right direction. I got to glow because he remembered to cue in the accompanist and raise up his scroll after the formata to bring everyone in. I have mixed feelings about it, obviously. Let's just say that I'm glad Sadie Grace will be starting violin lessons soon. There's time for me as a mommy of a little squirt in the baby group yet.

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