Monday, December 17, 2007

Music Lessons for Christmas

Christmas is a wonderful time of year... a time to celebrate Jesus' birthday (although we have no proof when His birthday actually was). In our culture, when you honor someone's birth, you often reminisce about things they've done or accomplished and recognize them publicly. I am so thankful that my Savior robed Himself in flesh, slept his first nights in a humble animal feeding trough, and grew up to endure severe animosity, persecution, rejection, and humiliation for my sake. He did it all for me... and you. I am thankful because He died on a cross so that I could have salvation, healing, deliverance, and live in blessing (what a gift!). I am also thankful that because of this, I have an eternal home where one day I (the bride) will meet my groom face to face (what another fantastic gift!). This is what Christmas means to me.

Christmas is also about the celebration. Many times in our culture, friends and family get together and have big dinners and play games all day. At one point, there is the tradition of gift giving. Jesus set the example for us by giving Himself. This is a very fun holiday tradition. However, with all the lights, music, toys, and loud festivities, gift giving can sometimes be very stressful..

Gift giving at Christmas can be extremely stressful. You hope that the gift you select will be truly appreciated. You worry about someone not liking the gift that you saved all year for. You worry that its too cheap, too expensive, too functional, too practical, too outrageous, too personal, too impersonal, on and on....We spend so much time second guessing ourselves, that we are forced into choosing everyone else's leftovers... the items that are not getting bought in the first place. Hence, the cycle repeats itself on different terms: stress of inadequate selection, stress that you have to give something that you only bought out of obligation, stress that you don't even like the gift you're giving, and stress because you know the receiver will not like it either. Will it never end?

We often forget about those things that are so intangible yet tangible. There are people who have yearned for years to learn something but have never stopped to consider the where's and why's. People often tell me, "I have always wanted to play the piano." Or I get this, "I'd just like to have an introductory course to music." And "I know I'm already (such and such age), do you think its too late to learn how to play music?" It just seems intangible to some so they don't risk buying into it. Do it for them instead. Why not give someone the gift of music lessons, be it piano, voice, violin, saxophone, etc.? God gave us all the ability to learn (another gift), and the gift just needs to be extracted. A few years ago, I had a mother of three approach me before Christmas and tell me that she wanted to sign her children up for piano lessons. The kids were to open up small boxes on Christmas morning and find a "coupon" for piano lessons with myself as teacher for a solid year. The kids were ecstatic. There are so many people who wish they knew how to play an instrument. Look them up in your area or do a Google search. This is a gift that becomes very tangible; it never quits giving because it stays with you in your memory and in your soul as you learn how to play.


Janell said...

Wow, such a great idea!!!! You know, it's so true what you said....there are so many people who wish they could, but never do. I get the exact same sort of comments that you listed! I also get "I took lessons when I was a kid but stopped, I really wish I would have kept them up! So I'm going to have my kids take lessons." Why not just start back up themselves?! It really is never too late. I taught at the Elk Grove Senior Center for 6 years, and there were women in their late 70's who learned from the very beginning, and practiced an hour a day for 6 years. By the end of 6 years, they were playing complicated jazz music, ragtime, and any of their oldies favorites, and beginning Bach and Mozart.
Great idea, Vondeleigh! =)

Music Eloquence said...

Thanks for validating me Janell. Its amazing that people don't think to give gifts like that. People think it has to be something you can see and touch RIGHT NOW but not something maybe "invisible" that gets better with time.

Or maybe an instrument would be a good gift as an inspiration for someone to start lessons.

I appreciate the feedback. =)

James Wilder said...

Obviously this post wasn't just an advertisement for you piano teachers, it was a well-thought out and passionate idea! I love it!
How many times have you heard me sulking about how I wish I could play?
Violin, Piano, Guitar....what an awesome gift that would be. Someone should give Emily a call...she's having a hard time deciding what to get me this year (at least she says!). I would absolutely LOVE music lessons.

Of course, I would have to cut out another activity in my week...but I'd gladly make that happen.

James Wilder said...

You just inspired a new poll for the M242 site!

Vonney said...

Great post! I have always wanted to play piano but with a 1 yr old and a 2 yr old, I think I would have to get up at 4am to practice! lol But I DEFINITELY will be doing this later on in life.. I actually took lessons when I was younger and can pick out a little bit on the piano but nothing great... I totally understand about buying stuff for others, I mean, what do you get someone who has everything? Piano lessons are a great suggestion!

Music Eloquence said...

Thanks James. I'm glad it helped. I emailed Emily. =)

Music Eloquence said...

Thanks Yvonne. I hope you do pursue music.

I can see you now... sitting in the parlor serenading your dinner guests with a little classical or jazz, and the wonderful aroma of "parmesan crusted sea bass" as they enter. =) Love you

Jana Allard said...

This is a great idea. From my music experience, most children are excited to begin but after a period of time become tired of practice and want to quit. I always encourage their parents to prod their children to continue their music studies. They will be grateful later in life. I wish we had more children involved in the arts.

Music Eloquence said...

Jana - its so true. once the excitement wears off, lessons become very tedious and mundane... that is unless the teacher can somehow keep the joy in her/his lessons (earlier post). With shorter attention spans, children need things to captivate their interest. For some its easier than others (even adults) to stay focused. But when I see this happening, I tell them its just like school: we don't always enjoy or even like every subject but we know that to get better at it we have to take home the homeword and spend an hour or so with it every night. As long as you continually develope a relationship with your instrument you begin to enjoy and love it more and more.

I think often times people don't put in the time and then when they get to their lessons, they feel guilty about not practicing and then the self condemnation kicks in and they give up.

I didn't mean to exhort here, but I totally agree with you and wanted to take advantage of a good opportunity to talk to people that might be considering lessons. If the teacher doesn't have the "joy" I spoke of from my earlier post, it may be up to the student to motivate him/herself once that excitement wears off. But its sooooooo worth it. Stay with it!!! Get to know it, sleep it, breath it, LOVE it!!
Thanks Jana