True story. Eight year old Turner is 15 minutes into his lesson. He has practiced this week. Turner’s mother has told me it was a little bit difficult to get him started practicing, but once he got started he stuck with it and did 45 minute sessions. I look at the times on his log sheet; 45 minutes a day, Monday through Friday. On Saturday and Sunday, Turner can’t take his guitar to his dad’s house. So he tries to add a little “extra time” during the week to make his practice time equal 30 minutes a day, 7 days a week. Impressive for an 8 year old, but I also realize his is doing exactly and only what is needed to get a Music Basket reward.
Right now, 15 minutes into his lesson, Turner is playing “Boogie Bass”…a piece with lots of extended ledger line reading. He is nailing most of the notes, but the moment he hits a wrong one, I hear the rapid flutter of percussive pick scrapes against strings. This is how Turner signals frustration. He begins all over again.
“What happened there Turner?” I ask.
“I made a mistake.” Obviously, he is not just making a mistake. There’s a lot more going on there. He’s clearly struggling to make this perfect, and every note is subject to a judgment call. And I’ve seen adults make this mistake as easily as Turner.