I have had three violin lessons. I am reading music a little, and I can find 4 notes on the A and E strings. I can play a halting but recognizable "Twinkle Twinkle." Moving from one note to the next is not quick, but my teacher says I am faster and my ear is coming along. I am trying to trust her on that.
It's not music yet. Don says he can "hear" my tension, but that I am more relaxed today than I was three weeks ago.
I have had enough years of learning new things that I can be amused now at my tension and frustration. I know that when a skill is sufficiently out of my comfort zone I feel absolutely wooden in the steps and I feel like I might never get it. Not that that makes me less tense or frustrated, but perseverance is easier now.
Whenever I am learning something new, or when I am teaching someone a skill, I remember Rhonda from my first job.
When I was 17 I got a job as a carhop at an A&W drive-in. I was so thrilled. When I was a child it was a great treat to go to the A&W with my parents. I always thought the carhops looked so confident, walking down the walk with trays full of rootbeer in frosty mugs. I learned right away that the trays are slippery and the mugs are heavy, that the change clip on my belt would jam at inopportune moments and that it was not easy to manipulate the small sheaf of paper money we wore wrapped around our middle fingers with just one hand. I watched Rhonda, who was incidentally also tall and graceful, carry a tray in each hand and be able to set one deftly on a window, manage payment for the order with one hand and then take the second to it's destination. She was calm, cool and collected. I was in awe. It took me three days to even have the nerve to talk to her. "How long have you been doing this?" I finally asked her, expecting her to tell me months and months. I was floored when she answered, "Since last Wednesday."
Carhopping was easier than driving, knitting, sewing, building a house or decently mentoring a carpentry apprentice, parenting and just about everything else I can do. And carhopping was definitely easier than learning to play the violin. But I still think that moment with Rhonda, and the fact that in a week I was as good and confident a carhop as she was one of the most instructive ones in my life.
Hey Rhonda? Wherever you are: Thanks.