Oh wait. It was different. This year I didn't want to pull out my hair, I wanted to shoot myself in the head.
|The girls preparing for last year's recital. I only took this photo because they were being featured in our music association's newsletter that month as well. No photo from this year. Sorry!|
First, here is a lovely iPhone video of how it went. Just to remind myself that my labors are not without fruit, and that perhaps it was a good thing that I didn't succumb to the desire to shoot myself in the head. And to show off my beautiful, talented, and brilliant daughters, of course.
Oh wait. My videography skills are so bad that I thought I pressed record. And then I didn't. And when I thought I pressed the button to stop recording, I started recording. So I recorded the applause. And my pants. And random moments of the rest of the recital that are not my children.
But if I *did* have a video of the actual performance, it would be good. Because they performed wonderfully.
I did bribe my children to play it for me at home after I realized my videography fail. It isn't the actual performance, they all look like ragamuffins after playing outside, and it is less perfectly played than it was at the recital, but it will have to do.
One might watch that video and think that such magical moments occur on a regular basis when my children pick up their instruments. One might think about how nice it would be to have a family performing group. One might even wish that their own children were part of such a trio. I know this because I have seen such sibling groups perform and had these fairy tale thoughts myself. I know this because I was actually excited for the first family recital last year because I could finally bring this idealistic dream of mine to fruition!
And then I found out the truth.
The truth is that it is impossible to get three sisters to be simultaneously cooperative. It is impossible to find them all focused and ready to practice together. (It may even be impossible to interest them in practicing and/or actually learning their own part before practicing with the group.) When you finally have them all in the same room, ready to play, one of them will inevitably need to use the bathroom, tell a joke, or yell at her sister.
You will say things like "stop doing that with your bow," "do not play your sister's violin," "stop doing that with your bow," "turn around and face the piano," "can we please start already?" and "I SAID to stop doing that with your BOW!"
The teenaged, more advanced musician, will say things like "you aren't keeping the tempo--don't you ever use a metronome?" and "if she keeps playing it that fast my bow is seriously going to light on fire! I have SIXTEENTH notes!"
The middle daughter, who enjoys playing the class clown more than she does the piano, will suddenly begin barking during the introduction and then fall over in a fit of giggles while simultaneously assuring me that she will not do that in the actual recital. Then she starts again, but decides it will be more fun to sing the accompaniment than to actually play it.
The youngest daughter will stoically try to play perfectly, and will be successful most of the time, even as her sisters are falling apart around her. She will be temporarily tempted to use her bow as a weapon, and when she has to use the bathroom her sister will hide it from her, but she miraculously stays somewhat focused.
After more than an hour of disastrous practicing on the night before the recital, you tell them this is it. This is their last chance to do it right, and if they can't do it, you will have to send in your resignation as their mother because clearly you are a gigantic failure.
After they finally calm down from the last volley of sarcasm, laughter, insults, and tears they finally start the piece for the 2,385th time. (Seriously, only sisters can manage such incredible emotional roller coasters within only a few seconds.) ("You came in early!" "No I didn't! You came in LATE!" "You don't have a stinkin' brain!" "Yes I do!--I mean, no I DON'T! I have a nice smelling brain!")
And the 2,385th time seems to be the charm. You sit in the corner of the room, holding your breath and try to hide your smile as it all seems to be going so well.
And then, during the final grand pauza, the dog decides to ring her bells and everyone dissolves into laughter.
So close. So very close. And definitely time to stop trying for the night. We'll get through tomorrow's recital and then we will NEVER ATTEMPT THIS AGAIN.
But the next day at the recital? Well, you inexplicably decide it was all totally worth it and begin planning a piece for next year.
Because you still think it would be nice to be the Von Trapp Family.
PS After talking to multiple friends at the family recital, I learned that this experience is pretty universal. Next time you see a family group perform together, just know that there was a lot of blood, sweat, and tears spent in getting ready for that performance (mostly tears, but probably a lot of blood, too). And then realize what an amazing person Maria Von Trapp must have been, because...blood.
Do you have little musicians too? You might also like:
Scales Before Screens
5 Tips to Help Your Children Practice
10 Reasons Your Child Isn't Practicing