Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sometimes Parents are Wrong

Ok, you know something that I wish my parents did differently? I wanted to play the viloin. So they made me learn piano, becuase it's supposed to be easier, and told me if I learned piano I could learn violin. The problem is I don't like the *sound* of a piano. I never have, especally when I was a little kid. It was hard to make myself practice an insturment I didn't like the sound of. I would do it even though it was torture. The fact that I stuck with it for as long as I did was a testament to how much I actually did want to play the violin, but of course I was no good at it, becuase no matter what, the piano would never sound good to me. It wouldn't matter if I could play piano like billy joel, I still don't like the sound of a piano.

So in my little kid mind it planted the seed that I just wasn't musical, becuase I had such a hard time learning piano, and I *had* to learn piano to get to play the instument I really wanted to play. Now that I'm a full grown adult with a fully developed ego and the ability to make my own choices I realize I had a hard time learning piano becuase I had no desire to play piano. I don't even like listening to piano when it's played by someone who is good at it. It's hard enough for kids to stick with practicing an insturment, and sure, the odds are that I would have given up the violin, too. However, I was never going to get good at piano. Making me learn an instument that I was never going to like was a terrible idea. It set me up for certain failue instead of likely failure.

The thing is, I realize with how much I've stuck to surfing, even though I am very bad at it, I probably would have stuck with the violin. I had the patience to go two years, surfing at least 3 times a week, in horrible conditions before I could even accomplish a simple pop up. That is not the work of a quitter. The difference is desire. Just because you may have zero natural ability to do something doesn't mean you shouldn't do it.

Then it happend again. In sixth grade I wanted to be in band. I wanted to play the flute, but since it was a very small school and they needed someone to play every insturment, I was chosen to play trumpet becuase they wanted to save the woodwinds for the kids who had to wear braces, and supposedly I had the correct shape of mouth or something for a brass instument. The problem was again, I hate the sound of trumpets. I've always had terribly sensitive hearing and it actually caused me physical pain to practice the trumpet. I did it because it's what the adults told me to do.
I didn't know until a few years ago that hypertussis is a real condition and I was not imagining the pain in my ears. Every time I would practice piano or trumpet, I would feel pain in my ears and jaw. The piano was percussive, like someone hitting the inside of my ear with different levels of force with each note. Middle C felt like a small brass ball peen hammer, high f felt like someone poking a ball point pen in my ear, E felt like a darning needle, D felt like when someone flicks you hard with a finger, other notes felt as if I was being pinched. Trumpet was a burning sensation, similar to an electric shock, with the pain varying by note. I got branded as "lazy" and "not musical" all because I wasn't allowed to play the instuments I wanted to play. In fact, adults chose for me two instuments I hate the sound of.

My ex husband's parents on the other hand, kept encouraging him try new insurments until he found one he would stick with. He still plays in a band to this day. Music is a huge part of his life.

I look at people who stuck with music, and I wish I'd been allowed to try what I wanted to try, and that my  parents hadn't given up on me just because I didn't learn the insurments I hated. And I still want to learn violin.

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