Lessons from the Fourth Week

The fourth week went by smoothly. The children had auditions for Knoxville Youth Symphony Orchestras on Monday. The results came in on Wednesday and, sure enough, they reached their goals. Our daughter wanted to stay in the same orchestra, but move from Second Violin to the First Violin section. She did. She instinctively knew the next orchestra would be too hard. Well, not just instinctively. She also knew from experience.

Mom and Kids at Clingmans Dome

Clingmans Dome, Observation Tower

Last summer, during string camp, she tried the next orchestra level up. She kept up, but barely. She prefers a more relaxed environment and we respect that. In fact, her violin teacher said this shows a rare form of insight for a nine-year-old, and also recommended we let our daughter go at her own pace.

We are not in a race to a particular point. The journey is worth more than the destination. As such, our orchestra journey should be a pleasure, not a chore.

Warming up in the waiting room before auditions.

Mom holding music for daughter

Butterflies, we all felt.

Our son wanted to advance to the next orchestra, and he did. He went from First Violin in Philharmonia to Third Violin in Sinfonia. This is a much tougher level and he was a bit surprised he made it. If he parks himself in Sinfonia for the next three years, nobody will mind. The two other levels beyond Sinfonia seem daunting at best at this moment.


Piano, too

The kids also started piano lessons again this week. Over the summer break, we do not do but two or three lessons, just to keep their skills from rusting out completely. While the weather lasts, I plan to take a walk with the child who is not doing a lesson and then switch. It affords for great bonding.

Boy observes insect

During our walk at the piano teacher’s house, my son observed a white caterpillar.

Our second outing with the Wild and Free Great Smoky Mountains group happened to be at Clingmans Dome, the highest point in Tennessee. It went well and the kids wanted to stay a few extra minutes to play with the other children. I knew we would be late for art class, but I thought, “Let’s just see how it goes.”

Boy on big rock

Scaling big boulders was one of main attractions

Girl on Boulders

They loved climbing these big boulders.

This was the biggest lesson of the week: these outings might interfere with art class, especially if they start a bit late due to their location. We need to learn to be content with 2-3 hours of nature and socialization and then move on to the rest of our schedule for the day. It’s good to learn boundaries.

We were 15 minutes late to art class. I asked my son to text our teacher when it became clear we would not make it in time. She understood. We also talked about the future. As long as we communicate, she will not mind if we get there a bit late or if we switch to another day just for that particular week. Isn’t that nice?

But the biggest take away is, “Don’t spread yourself too thin.”

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