Having a musically talented daughter means that things get busy at this time of year. Recitals, concerts, contests...they all seem to happen at once. Then suddenly everything is over.
This week brought the annual band solo and ensemble contest, the last big event of the school year. At this event, students play pieces for a judge to receive a rating. This was Bailey's third year participating in the contest. For the third year, she was named outstanding soloist for her marimba and snare solos. This year, she received a perfect score for each. This meant a great deal to her, given the complexity of the pieces she played.
As I look back on it, this year's contest marked a bit of a turning point, both for her and for me. As I crouched outside the door of the contest room listening to the sounds of her warming up on the snare and marimba, I began to relax. My normally nervous mom feelings started to disappear. As she launched into her marimba piece and other parents and students gathered outside the door to listen, it hit me: she really knows her craft. She makes it seem easy. I started to listen with a different level of appreciation. Rather than focusing on the mechanics of the performance, I felt the joy of listening to a musician.
I recently read a quote from someone about the difference between "craft" and "art". "Craft", she said, "is about making the right choices. Art is achieved when we no longer notice the craft."
As I listened, it occurred to me that Bailey is maturing in her musical skill to the point where I'm no longer aware of the craft. What I hear is the art. And what a privilege it is to be along for the ride.