This past spring, I was in my element. My students were competing, my wife was preparing for a major music event, and my daughter was constantly practicing for her first solo recital. Plus, my weekends were filled with other music events—judging, concerts, teacher meetings, etc. I have to admit, I was loving it. However, the immersion in music was turning our family life into borderline craziness.
Now, summer is here, and oh what a relief it is! Instead of rushing to get things done, we relax. No recitals, no events. Ashlyn, my oldest, is now playing fresh piano repertoire. I love hearing her play for the sheer enjoyment of it. Yes, she practices differently when there is no deadline—she’s less efficient, less detailed, less disciplined. Its OK, though. She needs the no-pressure environment to explore music on her own terms. We let her choose her favorite Haydn sonata, and now she is learning it with little input from me, at least for now. And she truly enjoys it!
That no-pressure environment is what we all need once in a while. It refreshes our spirit. It gives us time to connect with the people we love the most. Right now, we eat meals together, read the Bible together, and play games together. I tell bedtime stories because I’m not exhausted, and the kids don’t have to get up at 6:30am. Sure, we do those things during the school year too, but not as often.
Summer also allows for more creativity. Right now I am working more on my collection of Christmas arrangements. I need my schedule to be free of pressing obligations to pursue creative endeavors. As strange as it seems, summer is the perfect time for me to arrange Christmas carols!
The long, lazy days of summer make me wish for a world where there are no deadlines. But, the most ironic thing happens to me near the end of the sunny season… I start wishing again for the recitals, competitions, and events. Deadlines and routine lead to hard work and excellence. Piano events start to look attractive again. Maybe that’s just because I love music.