I had the privelege to attend a lecture given by Temple Grandin last week. So many wonderful nuggets of life wisdom were shared. I was impressed with her ability to stand in front of a large crowd and without show of nervousness teach us profound truths she had learned in her life. I think the most comforting and profound wisdom conveyed to me personally was watching her and noticing all of the similarities she shares with my Ike. Looking at her gives me great hope for my son's future. I don't know anything more valuable than that for a parent.
While listening to a TED talk on making mistakes this morning an analogy was drawn to music. That playing a note that may not be in the song score or key that the group is playing can be seen as a mistake. The speaker challenged that it could also be seen as a missed opportunity. That the mistake did not happen when that particular note was played, but in the way the musicians responded to the note.
They went on to play an example of both instances. Showing how when the band did not respond to the note and continued to play as usual or stopped it was awkward and the note stuck out. Then they showed what happened when the musicians welcomed the new note into their music and worked to adapt and blend with it.
Hearing the differences astounded me. The abrupt and awkward first example and then the new and interesting second example. All I could think about were my children. My children are the notes that don't fit into the music as it is written. They are the F# in the key of C. But when trained musicians improvise and work my children into their piece it becomes something new, interesting, abnormally breath taking.
I've watched this happen. When an adult or child takes my children's abormalities and uses them as a strength it is awe inspiring to watch. It happens so rarely. Most of the time my children are the bad note in the song, even more glaring because many stop the song to point it out and ask it to be fixed. You can't fix an F#. It is what it is.
To those with F#'s that read this, find those that are willing to work a song around your child. It will be hard but the only way our children will see their real value is by surrounding them with musicians who can and will improvise.
There are no mistakes on the bandstand