Welcome to my first post of 2018! I hope you are happy, well, and excited for all that is coming your way this year. I have lots of expanded content up my sleeve…rolling out as soon as next week! This year we will venture into more hymn studies, hands-on music activities, and an on-going series featuring genres besides classical music. I have been working on content for the past week, and I’m excited to begin sharing it with you! But first, Tchaikovsky and his not-so-very-good symphony…
Pursuing (Winter) Dreams
Have you ever completed a creative project you were really proud of at the time..but when you looked back later, perhaps after honing your craft or growing your skills, you realized the work you were so proud of was only, well, okay?
That’s sort of what happened with Peter Tchaikovsky and his Winter Dreams Symphony.
The technical name of this Symphony?
Symphony No. 1.
Peter’s first symphony.
Peter had written some successful pieces, but he hadn’t yet tackled the grandaddy of composition: the symphony. This was his first shot at creating a massive and memorable work. His first effort at really leaving his mark on musical history.
But the journey wasn’t an easy one. Peter labored over this work. It was difficult and arduous. He wanted to quit.
But he didn’t.
And he ended up creating a very average symphony.
It isn’t his most famous, and the professional music people will tell you it’s because it isn’t his best. That’s certainly understandable — Peter was just beginning to hone his skills and grow as a composer. My ears aren’t nuanced enough to hear the subtleties, though – it sounds quite beautiful to me.
And I really love knowing Peter’s first great effort is considered only average.
Because I think there is a fantastic lesson in there for our children.
Instead of remaining in the shadows, Peter took a leap into the daunting world of symphony composition. Instead of sitting on the sofa, he sat down at the piano and got to work. He didn’t wonder what it would be like to compose a symphony — he actually composed a symphony.
And you know what? The work mattered. He produced beautiful music AND he sharpened his skills – skills that would be necessary to create the genius music of Swan Lake and the enduring melodies of The Nutcracker.
It all had to start with Symphony No. 1. There had to be a beginning.
It’s kind of a great lesson for a New Year, no? You can use this music lesson as a gateway to a much larger discussion with your children.
Have your kids consider where in their lives they are sitting on the sofa, wondering and dreaming about what they want to contribute to the world. What if they actually gave it a try? What if they took some chances this year? Tried new things? Stepped out to places that are scary and uncertain?
Will their first effort be a home run? Probably not. Peter’s certainly wasn’t. But it is still great work. And it still contributes beauty into the world — perhaps even today, as you play this music in your home.
Peter’s Winter Dreams Symphony can be metaphor for an important lesson for 2018: try getting off the sofa.
Maybe your effort will be successful.
Maybe it will only be average.
Or maybe it will sharpen you for something greater.
Blessings for a great 2018,