Tonight I had the opportunity to attend the school band concert. My children tried to convince me it would be a long, horrible experience full of musical errors and sour notes. They don’t understand that to a mom, every performance is wonderful. The musical selections for the evening revolved around Hollywood and we got to hear songs from Spiderman, Harry Potter, Aladdin, Lord of the Rings, and more. The senior elementary school choir began the evening, followed by the grade six band. I was truly impressed with how well the kids played after only having their instruments for eight months. The evening continued with each grade’s band taking a turn until we reached the high school choir, and the concert band (grades 10, 11, and 12). These groups did an amazing job and finished the evening off with a bang. It was an enjoyable concert.
What I really noticed was how different each level was, and yet how subtle the differences were. Each grade improved slightly, but if I compared the youngest musicians to the oldest, the difference in skill was amazing. It is neat to see how far they come during the years they spend in band. The youngest kids played well but lacked a some of the finesse the older kids had. They made more mistakes and lacked a little confidence. The older kids had the skill and the ability to play more smoothly, put dynamics into the pieces, and make fewer errors. But they lacked some of the enthusiasm of the younger kids.
It got me thinking about writing. As I’ve been doing some serious editing lately, and when I read things I wrote several years ago, I am amazed at how far I’ve come. The differences between each piece are minor, but when I compare some of the earlier things I wrote with what ends up on the page now, it is gratifying to see the improvement. Even those subtle differences show me that I am still learning and improving my skills. Those day-to-day differences aren’t always noticeable, but they are there. I always tell my kids that as long as you’re learning, then life is good. Every year in band they improve a little more and every time I write, my skills grow. I can’t wait to look back ten years from now and see how far I’ve come. Meanwhile, life is good.