Following the music

Are you guilty of encouraging your children to try new things and yet ducking out of activities you love yourself?

This morning I met with other mums at my son’s school to talk about the upcoming school events. Early next year is an Anonymous Art Sale where all pieces are sold at an affordable price to fund support services within the school. I’ve taken part in a few of these type of events and it strikes me as an open and welcoming way to choose a piece of art you love while also supporting a local cause.

What struck me today was the way the lady said “so this is your chance to be prepared and the excuse you need to get back to art that you have missed doing since school”

A few people around the table recolied in horror with a shudder of “that’s not for me”. She went onto to say that she had always wanted to continue with her art since school and it was only because she felt she never had the time that she didn’t do more of it anymore. She was genuinely surprised that not everyone felt the same urge.

The conversation moved on as the mum next to me explained she was more involved with music; both her children played more than one instrument. And that’s fine – we all have our different passions. Yet she herself had given up playing piano despite it being something she enjoyed.

20141001-141149-51109450.jpgA number of years ago I too started to re-learn the piano as an adult when my daughter was keen to give it a go. I loved learning as an adult – it felt more equal; a freer conversation with the teacher about the ways to practice, more chance to be involved and choose pieces I wanted to learn and not spend time on pieces of music that didn’t interest me. My daughter gave up and I continued, relishing the chance to practice. It was so easy – no preparation required; just sit and follow the music, noticing which parts were tricky and then paying them more attention.

However ultimately I realised that I was using it as a form of procrastination; it was easier to practice piano than it was to set my own path with the art I wanted to practice. The music gave me a clear direction to follow. With art I had to create my own guide and that was much harder.

I suppose it brought me around to thinking about choosing your own path.

Why do we give up things we enjoy, and still encourage our children to choose activities that interest them?

Why is it so hard to find time for things we would love to do?

I don’t think it is just down to finding time. I think we need a path to follow. School provides that for children – opportunities and activities are laid out before them. As adults it can be harder to see such opportunities but they are there: classes at your local college, books with ideas to follow, online courses, weekend events at art galleries.

October is the month of The Big Draw – the world’s biggest drawing festival. Follow the link to search for events near you.

If you are like that lady who wishes she had time for more art in her life, you don’t always have to compose the music yourself. Leave the ideas up to someone else, but what could you do to find a way to simply sit down and follow the music?

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