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One Note at a Time

Posted by on February 12, 2013

My violin student stood poised and ready to play. The metronome ticked its pulse and I counted off for the song to begin. The soft melody of “Autumn Leaves Are Falling” floated from the half size violin. “Nice job!” I exclaimed. Since we need to get the song faster before the 1st grade program in 2 weeks, I increased the metronome marking to 60. “Ok, it’s going to be a little bit faster now,” I said.

Immediately, my student’s eyes grew large. Her entire body stiffened as she prepared herself to play. I counted off, and again the melody came out of the instrument. This time, however, I heard autumn leaves crunching and jerking sporadically. As soon as the song ended, I explained to my student what had happened. Because she knew we were going faster, she freaked out, and the result was a mess.

“We’re going to play it at 60 again,” I explained. “But first, take a deep breath.” She breathed in and then exhaled. “Ok, now relax your body. You can do this! You know the song, your fingers know the song. It doesn’t matter that it’s faster. Just stay relaxed and play it like you know.” This time, I counted off, and the autumn leaves fell and swooped gracefully. “You did it!” I congratulated. All it took was getting her to take a deep breath and play the song one note at a time, regardless of the speed.

Lately, my life has been stressfully driven by my to-do list. Every day I feel constrained by time and frustrated when the day ends without giving me a chance to relax. Reflecting on my student’s lesson yesterday, I’m realizing that I need to tell myself what I told her yesterday. Take a deep breath and relax. The Lord is preparing me for each part of today, and I can do it because the Lord is my Strength. When I think about the day or week as a whole, my eyes grow big and my body tenses. As a result, the week is characterized by tight muscles and anxiety. Jesus is Lord of today, and no matter how fast the tempo, He is with me. My job is to rest in Him and serve Him in peace – one note at a time.

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