Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Life Lesson a la Music Class

On Tuesday mornings I take the little man to music class.  This is one of my favorite parts of the week, as we're guaranteed an hour of good companionship and fun in a lovely, air-conditioned room, I love to sing and dance around like the huge dork that I am, and the teacher, Christy, is hands down the little guy's first true love (he gets starry-eyed at the mere mention of her name).  For summer session, Christy has a lovely intern who will take on her own class in the fall.  The intern is sweet, has sparkly eyes and a calm demeanor, and seems to genuinely get a kick out the kids (0 to 5-year-olds at music class can either be hilarious or incredibly annoying, depending on the day).  And today she offered me a great life lesson, completely unintentionally.

Christy is an old pro, and could probably lead music class in her sleep.  She is adored by all the kids, and her role is something akin to Jerry Garcia playing to a packed stadium of Deadheads... she's already a hero just for showing up, making noise, and not passing out before the thing is over.  Today she opened with a few songs, that handed it over to her intern, who instantly and totally froze.  Music played on silently (if that is possible -- what I mean is that it was the karaoke version of the song, because the intern was supposed to provide the words, and the silence was deafening), and she looked increasingly panicked.  Christy gently urged her to start singing, and she finally sang a few words before burying her head in agony and embarrassment.  You could tell every mom and nanny in that room just wanted to run over and give her a hug.  Finally, she pulled it together and sang again, and we all chimed in with so much enthusiasm and loudness, the volume alone conveyed our sympathy.

So, here's the thing... everyone in that room was just an exhausted, overheated mom or caregiver looking for something fun to do and a little help in keeping their little one happy, stimulated, and entertained for an hour or so.  We don't need Pavarotti, we don't even need Raffi... we just need someone else to be the most alert person in the room and give us a break for a few.  We're not judging anyone on their singing or creativity, we're just grateful that the music teacher is there, and charmed by our kids, and giving us a chance to play a tambourine and zone out without being a professional go-go dancer.  All she had to do was say "la la la", and we were ready to join her in a resounding, supportive chorus.

I think you know where I'm headed with this... so many times in life we hold back because we want to be perfect or nothing.  We're afraid to sing out when we have nothing planned to sing, for fear that our freestyling will be inadequate or embarrassing.  We think that unless we are Christy, everyone is going to judge us and think we're not doing it right and wish the pretty blond lady would just take back over already.  And we're wrong.  Nine times out of ten, everyone is pulling for the intern.  The vast majority of people want us to succeed and want to help us get there.  This little microcosmic music incident drove home for me that perfection is truly the enemy of progress.  It is so much better to just open your mouth and sing... whatever comes out, the crowd is ready and willing to hear it and there is a good chance they'll chime right in.  They may even dance around like dorks.  And be grateful to you for just being there and trying.
Anyone who helps with this ball of energy is a hero in my book.


  1. Whoa. Loved this. Can't hear enough about taking it down a notch from the compulsive, evil search for perfection. Gotta let it go... and hey, I like singing too!

    Also, lots of love to little man's rockin' out pic. xo

  2. YES!! Thanks for sharing this moment. Sometimes we get so stuck in our head and have to be reminded that "it is not always about me". It rarely is!