Hadley’s (violin) coming out party

OK, maybe  “coming out party” is a bit of a hyperbole and this certainly wasn’t anything like those snobby debutante balls. But Hadley’s recent violin concert was a big deal because we’ve had a rocky history with learning the violin. Most public schools don’t start learning instruments until fifth grade but at Hadley’s Waldorf school, the arts and music are a major part of the curriculum. She had the choice between learning the cello or violin and she chose the latter.

That has been about the only easy part about it.

From the get-go, she hated the violin. And, if we’re being honest here, I really didn’t push it because I hate listening to a kid hate playing the violin (think: screeching cats scraping their nails on the chalkboard). For her first concert last year we had a huge blowout when she refused to go. Being the good parents that we are, we forced her and I was pleased to see her performing like a champ along with the rest of the kid.

Until she confessed she faked the whole thing.

For her next concert later in the year, we had a conflict that evening so didn’t make her go. Why rearrange your schedule if the kid is just going to violinlipsync?

She got a new orchestra teacher this year and slowly, her attitude has started changing as she becomes more adept. A couple of months ago, I heard a foreign sound coming from her room: she was practicing the violin. On her own. Without threats/coercion.

I praised her and she raved, “Mr. Perez says if we keep working hard, he’ll give us a special reward. I’m doing so well he has bumped me up to practice with the fifth graders.”

This is when I stopped to pick myself up off the floor. From ViolinSyncer to the advanced group? She may be the most stubborn kid in the world if she doesn’t want to do something (remember our five years of potty training?) but when she really puts her mind to something, she shines.

The night of the concert she wore her beautiful dress given to her by her beloved Grandma Johnson at Christmas. I dolled her up by curling her hair and applying light make-up. She looked radiant!

The problem is, the boys took notice. One admirer of her past, Ryan, told her “you look like a princess” while the class perv (the kid who chauvinistically calls all the girls ‘babe’) observed how different she looked in her heels, make-up and dress.

Stay far, far, far away from that one.

The concert was great. They sang a beautiful song.

The choke-hold on her friend London was a bonus.

And then the orchestra performed. I was really proud to see her delve into it all without hesitation.We later rewarded her efforts with a special family outing for frozen yogurt. Technically it was her third concert but we’re counting it as her first because it’s the first time she didn’t fake it.

And no matter how belated, we’re considering that a win.

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