I have always sang to them. From the time they were very small they have heard my voice raised in song. Most of them loved it, until they got to an age where I asked them to sing with me. I would gather the six oldest ones together, practice for several days and than have them perform during church or an activity or a meeting. They would all fight me on the practice time.
To start with, three of them were boys and they just had better things to do than go to someone's house and stand around a piano. Everyone of them can tell you about the times that they had to sing. But, much harder than the singing, was all the time spent practicing in order to sound good together. We have spent hours and hours as a family and individually, working on our music.
All of the children have spent time playing musical instruments as well as singing together. Each instrument has required hours of practice before the child was able to play it well. Practice is essential in order to play well enough for people to be glad they came to hear you!
The three youngest girls are no exception to the family music program. Miracle plays the flute, Kayla, the Cello and Anya isn't old enough yet to start her instrument, but she says she wants to play the violin. In addition to the instruments, they all sing. They have been singing with me in church since they were quite small. I love to sing with them. They're voices are so clear and sweet. Not only are they singing, (when mom tells them they have to), but I have put them each in piano every week. The youngest just turned nine, the other two are eleven and thirteen respectively.
Now, you should probably know that up until this point, playing music has been as bad as a trip to the dentist for these girls! It is not just the lesson itself, but the added practicing every day that makes it so not fun! It has taken me a year to really get them into a routine for the practicing. Finally, something has clicked into place over the past month. All of a sudden, they each have something they are working on that sounds great when they play it! For the first time, I don't have to beg, plead, and coerce them into a practice session. They are fighting over whose turn it is to sit at the piano! They are enjoying the moment when their fingers manage to play the notes that are written on the page. The are finding joy in the journey of learning.
Now, you might wonder why I am spending so much time on music (besides the fact that I love it!). Actually, music or more especially the learning of music, is a lot like this life we are living. If we want to be good at anything, we have to practice. If we want to play sports, we have to practice, if we want to be good drivers, we have to practice, if we want to be good speakers, we have to practice, if we want to understand the scriptures, we have to practice.
The 'practice makes perfect' motto can apply to literally every part of our lives, in the gospel and out of it. If we want to be good teachers, we need to practice! We can't pick something up and than ask Heavenly Father to do all the work. We are here to learn and grow. Sometimes, I think we expect way too much of ourselves! We are like my children who struggle with music for a long time until suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, it makes a joyful noise. But we want it right now! We want it without the struggle, without the pain, without the trial. We want it without the practice!
There is the story of a concert pianist that played for many people all over the world. After one of his concerts, a woman came up to him and said,"Sir, I don't know how you do that! I would give half my life to sound like you!" "Madam", the gentle musician said, "That is exactly what I have done".
Never forget that you Heavenly Father placed you here so that you could learn and grow. He placed you here so that you could become who He needs you to be.
"Practice means to perform, over and over again in the face of all obstacles, some act of vision, of faith, of desire. Practice is a means of inviting the perfection desired." Martha Graham
"A day will never be anymore than what you make of it. Practice being a "doer"! -- Josh S. Hinds
We learn by practice. Whether it means to learn to sing by practicing singing or to learn to play piano by practicing piano, or to learn to live by practicing living. The principles are the same. My you continue to find joy in your journey through this life as you practice and learn.