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When in the world do you practice?

May 29, 2007

So asks my orchestra stand partner, seeing how I have three children and I homeschool.  Frankly, I don’t.  I feel like a marathon runner who can barely run 2 miles now.  It’s been so long since I sat down to practice my cello just because.  I’ve had quite a few stressed-I’ve got to get this music learned by Tuesday-type practice sessions this year, but it’s so much nicer (and easier on the arms) to sit down and do some relaxing practice.  I’ve just forgotten how.  That’s about to change.

I practiced for 40 minutes today.  Uninterrupted!

We’re trying something new in our schedule.  It’s called quiet time. 

I’ve had several people tell me that their sanity-saving practice is to have an hour or two of quiet time every afternoon, where all the children retire to their rooms to sleep, read, or whatever, at which point Mommy gets some refresh and renew Mommy time.  So they can continue to function as the Mommy.  When their babies outgrow their afternoon nap, they just continue going to their rooms for quiet time.  Why haven’t I been doing this?

Well, to begin with, we live in a 2-bedroom house, with 5 people, a dog, and a cello.  Not that the cello or the dog matter when counting bedrooms, but it’s hard to send three children to the same room and not have it turn into chaos.  But seeing how D has not been taking naps for quite some time (due to his inability to go to sleep at night if he gets even a 15-minute afternoon nap and I’d rather have some peace and quiet with all 3 boys in bed in the evening, or something’s going to snap) so we don’t have to worry about waking a sleeping baby, we decided to try quiet time after lunch today. 

I told them I’d read a chapter of Paddington, then they had to find a book or a toy to play with in their bedroom for an hour until Thomas the Tank Engine is on and I’d let them come out.  I was surprised they agreed to it with not much argument at all.  I had to check on them several times to make sure they were really happily in their room looking at books and not causing some giant catastrophe somewhere.  Too much quiet can be a very bad thing in a house full of boys.  It was unnerving but I managed to get the cello out and start playing.

I’ve forgotten what it’s like to not have orchestra music, wedding music, or anything else I have to be learning.  I started with the C Major scale which I’ve worked on so many times.  It’s like reading 1st Nephi.  Someday I’ll actually work through all the 24 major and minor scales and get to F# Major in my scale book.  Although those double-stop thirds were pretty bad sounding just in C Major today.  I actually had to hunt for my etude and technique books.  I stopped short of practicing any actual solo music because it’s hard for me to get motivated to work on new pieces without some performance to look forward to.  Plus I was tired!  Maybe I’ll have to plan a recital so I can finally finish up the Saint-Saens Sonata I’ve been working on for, oh, about nine years now. 

It felt good though.  I’m going to try to do this everyday.  I know we can all use a break about the middle of the day.  I’m trying to add structure to our summer days.  Long, lazy days just seem to breed contention between all of us.  A did lots of reading today, plus he finished his scripture verse handwriting and did a column of math. 

Yesterday we got some seeds into the ground.  Luckily our neighbor loaned us his tiller and hopefully we’ll get something to actually grow back there.  I bought some tomato plants already growing, so those might be our best bet.  The boys had great fun making mud with their new watering cans and covering themselves and their toys in it while DH and I worked in the garden.  It was so nice to have him home yesterday to relax with.  He was feeling patriotic and wanted to watch A More Perfect Union in the afternoon, but we talked him into watching National Treasure instead.  We ate popcorn and answered 50 questions from A about what was going on and then DH grilled hamburgers for us for dinner, after walking them to the grocery store for buns.

They were so worn out.  We put them in bed and they were asleep about 5 minutes later!  DH and I watched Brides on the Homefront and Saints at War on KBYU.  Both were very good programs.  It was a great day.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 30, 2007 12:36 pm

    How have you survived this long without a quiet time? It is like religion with us. Just watch out, they may try to rebel against it later on. I just had to sit the older kids down and explain how good quiet times make me happy and want to do fun things, and bad quiet times make me grumpy and not want to do anything but work and yell. I don’t envy the space issue. We had that up until 2 years ago (just substitute a boy for your dog), and no yard. Somehow we managed.

  2. cellista permalink
    May 30, 2007 9:39 pm

    A used to have quiet time on his own when we only had A and C. C would take a nap and A just seemed like he needed to unwind a little bit, usually after lunch, and he would read or play quietly. I didn’t feel a need to put him in his room, partly because the baby was in there and partly because he was pretty quiet. It was kind of the same after D came along. But now with 3 boys and no naps, it’s no longer quiet. They’re all pretty chatty too, and will ask question after question of me if I’m right there. So into the bedroom!

  3. hiddenart permalink
    June 3, 2007 7:04 pm

    One of my fondest memories is listening to my mother practice the piano or organ. She has been the church organist since I was born. It truly instilled a love of music in me.

    I’m sure your practicing will have nothing but a positive effect in your boys’ lives. While they may be doing something else during their quiet time, they will also be listening to you. How extremely wonderful.
    amanda

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