For the past few months Clara has been studying piano at home.  She has a keyboard that plugs into her school laptop and she has a computer program that has very impressively been walking her through the basics of music theory, posture, basic notes reading and music history.  Each lesson is taught by a different cartoon composer from a different era playing different styles of music (although they all conveniently have Canadian accents).

Clara loves it.  I can tell immediately as I walk through the door in the evening if she has passed her exams and moved on to a new teacher.  She calls me over and has me listen to their instructions and examples the whole time watching my face to see my reaction to these amazing people.  Her friends.  Bach, Schubert, Joplin, a whole revolving door of composers and master musicians that show up in my home in the afternoon and share their passion for music with my daughter who is proudly following in their lofty fingerprints.  Joyously practicing and playing and struggling to do her best, day by day.

And then she suddenly quit.  She just got to a certain point and stopped completely and refuses to turn it back on.

I sat down the other day and asked her about it.  She explained the problem.  It turns out, she has reached the end of the first program, and in order to move on she has to perform a recital.

“Well that shouldn’t be too hard, Sweetheart.”  I knelt down and hugged her shoulders.  “Your mom and I can come and watch, and you can play all of the songs you learned this year.  It will be fun.”

She looked down at the floor.  “No.  I don’t mind if you and Mom are there.  I’m scared because all of my teachers are going to be there too.”  She motioned with her hand as if she were painting each of them into the air in front of her.  “Bach and Joplin and Schubert, and ALL of them.  Even Ms.Melody said she was going to be there.”  She said, referring to the lady that smiles at her on the menu screen.  She stared blankly at the far wall, lost in childhood shock.

“Huh.”  I said, hugging her once more.  “Huh.”  I said again for emphasis.  Then I picked her up and carried her like a stiff board and propped her up against the wall in the extra bedroom so that no one would accidentally trip over her.