The Audition

 Liz loved her violin from the moment she got it. While not every practice session has been stellar or without complaint, she has steadily worked away with enjoyment and pride.

Now, she practices more often (and more successfully) on her own, setting her own challenges and finding her own way.  She has worked hard and is far beyond her classmates. Last winter her teachers began urging her to join an orchestra outside of school and, gradually, she became excited to do so.  Our local music center offers three levels of orchestras for children and teens, all by audition only.  Yesterday was the big audition. Lou planned it all-- her outfit, the scale that would most impress, the song.

As the week went on, Lou became more and more nervous until the big day when....she lost it.  She became so so scared and refused to go. No amount of convincing would allow her to realize that it was last-minute nerves. She was convinced that she had never wanted to do it in the first place. Nels and I had one of those awful parental dilemmas. Would we force her to go or let her off the hook? Had we pushed her into something that she actually didn't want to do? Is it OK to push a child THIS scared?

Well. We made her go. We carried her kicking to the car. Threw in the violin. Took off down the road. None of us feeling good about it. And then magic. Nels began to quietly talk. He told story after story of auditions --the time he choked when playing for one of the top 5 trumpet players in the world (and didn't get into BU) and the next day when he nailed his audition and got into Tanglewood.  As he told story after story, her head came up. Her shoulders quietly straightened. She had a sip of water. And she got out of the car. Calm(er).

And. She nailed it. She played better than I'd heard her all summer. The conductor smiled, gave her some pointers, and told her she was "in."

In. Not into the intermediate youth orchestra. Into the teen Green Mountain Youth Symphony. My girl is standing TALL and Nels and I are breathing easier that we did the right thing.

softearthart  – (August 28, 2010 at 4:33 PM)  

Oh this must have been hard thou, but it worked and that is the main thing, congrats to your dear child's musical career. cheers Marie

Sarah  – (August 28, 2010 at 4:40 PM)  

It was so hard. What amazed me once again was the power of story and how it can speak so deeply to a child.

sarah  – (August 28, 2010 at 5:20 PM)  

Oh, wonderful story! My heart is singing for Lou and also for you as her parents! Congratulations to her on her fabulous success - over fear, as well as in the audition.

And I agree with you about the power of story.

Grace  – (August 28, 2010 at 5:59 PM)  

How wonderful!! Isn't a pleasure to see your child play and enjoy an instrument? (My daughter plays the mandolin and sings and sings and sings). Congrats to your daughter.

I know you must have felt torn making that call. I hope she is happy you pushed her a little. She must be proud of herself.

Susan  – (August 28, 2010 at 9:38 PM)  

Brava! Lou! Congratualations!

Isn't it wonderful when we make the right parenting decision, and everything works out? It is so HARD knowing what to do sometimes.
I'm so glad that you and Nels got it right.

Carrie  – (August 28, 2010 at 10:00 PM)  

What a wonderful story! For parents and children alike. Congratulations to all of you!!!

momma rae  – (August 29, 2010 at 12:15 AM)  

so touching!! what a challenging moment as a parent. how good it feels to push our comfort levels and find that it really was the best decision after all. congrats to your sweet girl!!

softearthart  – (August 29, 2010 at 5:56 PM)  

Hi, Me again, I am so glad you enjoyed my wee boxes, I think your children will love decorating them,I find young children just love the surprises in them. cheers Marie

Plain and Joyful Living  – (August 30, 2010 at 7:26 AM)  

Oh, isn't this hard as a parent... when to push and when to let go... You did the right thing and now maybe she has learned that it is ok to be nudged sometimes. Congratulations!
Warm wishes, Tonya

Quiltin' Mama  – (August 31, 2010 at 8:27 AM)  

Great job to each of you. We are constantly faced with similar circumstances with teen daughter- to push or to pull, will she grow if we do not push, if we push to much will it be over the edge? It is such a fine line. Congratulations to all! Way to go!

Mary  – (August 31, 2010 at 12:33 PM)  

I laughed out loud with delight as I read your story. Our oldest daughter was sometimes like a little bird that was afraid to take that first flight out of the nest. Sometimes it took the combined efforts of both Papa and Mama bird to heave her over the edge of the nest and each time she would flutter her wings and then fly and enjoy the new activity. Oh, but it is a scary moment when you decide to take charge. I'm so happy for all of you that it all turned out so well. What wonderful experiences lay ahead of her.

Lovely World  – (September 8, 2010 at 10:21 AM)  

How wonderful. Bravo. I thank you for describing how you handled this situation. Obviously, Lou is a talented young woman and should not miss this type of opportunity. Yet, as a parents we don't want to "force" things upon children. In the end, we DO need to guide them forward into uncharted territory. You did a brilliant job here!

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