This evening my beautiful Isabella was practicing her flute before bed. In all honesty, it was awful. The notes were out of tune and airy. Oh how she struggled to get the correct fingering. Forget anything about correct timing.
As I listened, offering encouraging words, I couldn't help but think back to my beginning days of playing the flute. I don't play much anymore (the occasional Christmas pageant) but it all seems to be there whenever I pick up my instrument, just like riding a bike. Hard to imagine a time when the notes where not imprinted in my fingertips or the perfect place to position my lips to create that sweet sound was not automatic. I must have gone through that rough learning phase. You know, that time when you wonder if you will ever catch on. It's a difficult phase. You see the notes on the paper, imagine the sound coming from your flute but your fingers don't move fast enough and the sound is squawky and airy. Everyone else seems to be getting it. You feel awkward and discouraged.
Right now practice time is not always exactly music to my ears. But one day it will be. With consistent practice and pushing through the rough patches, one day she will play masterpieces.
And so it is with all our learning. There will be rough days.
Then, 26 years later you look back and wonder if you ever really struggled with what now seems second nature.