32 thoughts on “Our Daily Thread 6-8-22

  1. You have heard me lament not being able to do the things with BG that we are able to do with Little Miss. Yesterday I was taking her to work (something has to be fixed on her car) and somehow we got on that subject. She said to me, “This is P’s fourth time with a child. I was your first. Of course he is more fun now and so are you”.
    It seems the things I regret and beat myself up over are not things she blames on me.

    Of course today is Water Fun Day at Summer Camp. Papa is going to help the teacher when it is her age group’s turn. He has managed to find a swimsuit for her that covers from her neck to her wrists, and her torso. Unfortunately he can’t find anything to cover her legs. He. worries about her looking like “Florida Woman” when she is old. I am laugingly calling him the “Room Papa”.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. The tree in that photo is gorgeous. We don’t have anything around here that compares. Some sort of blight came through 20 or so years ago and killed all of our dogwoods.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. It’s a good morning to see that beautiful tree in all its glory. Wow! That is massive and makes me think of the Garden of Eden. Thanks for sharing, Kathaleena.

    Kim, I am glad that BG totally understands and allows you to feel grace over something you had no control over though you wish could have been different. May God give you the gift of forgetfulness so you can completely enjoy the present blessings unhi dered by regrets.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. 6, a question for you, please (or anyone else with experience). We are “in negotiations” with Granddaughter over piano lessons. She is 11, took lessons all during the school year, but didn’t progress very much due to not practicing. My thought is that if she doesn’t love it, she shouldn’t continue, however, she wants to. So the question is, what do you think is a reasonable practice schedule – that is, how many days per month and for what length of time? Thanks!


  5. Sad news here. It appears the last lightning storm took out my bike. Though the clock and ipod on the same surge protector were not bothered.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Linda–I took piano lessons from about 6 until I was 13ish.

    My non-musical mother often wondered why I didn’t practice more.

    I was a kid. But I loved playing the piano and even though she stopped the lessons when I was in junior high, I poured out a lot of emotions on that piano–and it helped a great deal during my trying teenage years.

    My senior year in high school I asked for a last year of lessons before I left for college, and my mom paid for them. I finally got the teacher who probably would have been more successful with me years before, and I loved those lessons.

    I also play several other instruments–most notably the clarinet which I learned in seventh grade and played through college, including in the UCLA Marching Band. I’ve since played it in our church woodwinds quartet up until COVID.

    I’ve also been part of the choir for years–because all that piano training taught me how to read sight music, chordal structure, and harmony.

    I’m invaluable as a soprano because of the training I received in elementary school.

    My point is, piano lessons can be a “starting musical drug” which exposes kids who love music to the basic elements of music–which in turn can become a foundation for joy for the rest of their lives.

    So, my personal thoughts (and 6 would know even more, of course) are if she’s interested in music and wants to take lessons, go for it. The drudgery of practicing is real–because she probably wants to make and experiment with music.

    Lessons give her a backbone, even if she doesn’t practice as much as she should, and opens a new world.

    It also will enable her to type faster in “real” life. Piano skills are part of why I can type 140 wpm. 🙂

    None of my kids took piano lessons, which was disappointing. Several play the piano by ear now, and all played other instruments in school.

    My daughter got very excited on Sunday when she learned our church is giving away the four excess pianos. She took one. Her first piece of furniture for her new (ancient) house.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Oh, and piano mastery of Hot Cross Buns is negligible. The trombone playing that piece (or the flute, trumpet, or drums) can drive you crazy.


  8. All three of my daughters took piano lessons. I never insisted they practice a certain amount of time. They tended to sit and practice for small amounts of time. I asked the teacher how much they should practice, and she told me. “Long enough to learn the lesson.” Every child is different. If they went to the lesson and were embarrassed not to know it, that was on them.

    Both my daughter and me did tell my grandson that he should not continue with the violin at his school. He was clearly not really interested, and it was a waste of his time. We encouraged him to take choir instead.

    All to say, you have to know the child and their bent. Children do seem to need to be encouraged through those plateaus of not seeming to make any progress.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. The tree with pink blossoms is a crabapple tree. There is a maple (which was very small when planted) between this crabapple and the one in the background that has white blossoms. The white-blossomed tree has slightly bigger crabapples. We have another larger pink crabapple tree in the back of the house. That is the one that had a large branch fall on the roof, break out a piece of roof gutter and turn on the outdoor water faucet last winter. My husband has taken off some smaller branches off the downed tree, but the main trunk and bigger branches remain. There are blossoms on that, too. Hopefully, it will all be removed soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Good morning. That’s a beautiful tree! It looks like a pink flowering dogwood tree like I’ve seen in the Upper Midwest, but I’ll let Kathaleena ID it for certain. 😉


    Lutheran Linda, hiya! I’ll give you the short answer and the long answer to your piano practice questions, and you can pick and choose options from there. 🙂

    So the question is, what do you think is a reasonable practice schedule – that is, how many days per month and for what length of time?

    I’ll start with the easier one — what length of time?

    Short answer: I rarely prescribe a specific length of time for practice. It too often leads to mindless practice, filling time until the timer rings. That’s especially true for kids who don’t particularly enjoy practicing in the first place.

    Quality of practice — mindful attention to musical detail throughout the entire session — whatever its length — is superior to multi-tasking, i.e. fingers are moving while brain is saying, “How much time do I have to do this yet?” LOL.

    Long answer: One of the things I’ve observed in my own children when they’ve practiced piano is that practice will take longer in the early days after their lesson. I generally always give a mix of new and review pieces, and the new ones take longer to play in the early days, since they are going slower as they work out the new music’s challenges. Later in the practice week, the music is flowing off their fingers more easily and an entire assignment can be played reasonably comfortably in a shorter time frame.

    So the greater ease of playing their music by the end of the practice week is a built-in reward for diligent practice. I never minded that my kids seemed to “get done” sooner the last couple days of their practice week.

    I should mention that some teachers recommend a daily practice length that is roughly equal to the weekly lesson length. If you encourage that for your granddaughter, you may want to consider breaking her practice into two shorter sessions per day, so she is as fully attentive in the second half as she is at the outset.

    Also, if you stick to a specific practice length, some of that time can be used to play old favorites, for example, especially when the current assignment doesn’t take much time to play well.

    I’ve had some extremely busy high school students — but this could apply to younger students like your granddaughter as well — who were hardly practicing because they couldn’t figure out how to balance it with all their schoolwork and extra-curriculars. I recommended multiple mini-practice sessions between bouts of homework, haha.

    Study one subject; play some scales and arpeggios at the piano; study next subject; run around the outside of the house five times; practice the 8 most challenging measures of your most challenging piece; study a little more; play the easiest piece on your assignment… etc.

    I don’t know if any of them ever did what I prescribed, but if lack of time is more the issue than lack of motivation for your granddaughter, something like that might work.

    Sheesh, the long answer got long! LOL!

    I’ll answer the other question in a different comment. 🙂

    To be continued…

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Linda’s other question (“…how many days per month…”):

    I’m going to assume your granddaughter has weekly lessons, as it sounds like she’s been studying for a year or slightly less? Anyway, that’s the interval most beginners have from one lesson to the next. So my answer will be along the lines of how many practice days per week, and you can do the math from there. 🙂

    Short answer: I encourage students to aim for 6 practice days a week, but 5 is acceptable. That way, most days are practice days. Pick a day as your day of rest, I tell them, and then write down what time you’re going to do your practice on the other days of the week.

    Even if their schedules can’t accommodate 6 practice days, the most important thing they can do, though, is to get to the piano and practice within 24 hours of having had their lesson. There is a significant decline in retention of new knowledge after the 24-hour mark if it hasn’t been put into practice before then.

    The second most important thing is to never have two days in a row where you don’t practice. (Did you hear my teacher voice in that sentence?) 😀 If you miss a day, get to the piano the next day!

    Longer answer, with a couple funny anecdotes to follow: A student, following the minimum recommendations above, could end up with a 4-day practice week, which isn’t ideal, but does end up to be more days at the piano than not.

    Example: if Wednesday is the lesson day, and the student practices Thursday, Saturday, Monday and Wednesday (before the lesson that day). Student’s first practice session was the day after the lesson, and there were never 2 or more consecutive days without practice.

    Better than a poke in the rear with a sharp stick, as my husband would say! 😛

    Anyway…ahem, I base the practice advice in this comment on brain research I’ve read. The younger students, of course, don’t need to know the why behind my recommendations, but older students seem to be interested in, if not entirely responsive to, the reasoning behind practicing the day after their lessons, at the very least. It sets them on the right track with mindful practice, as they can remember better what we discussed in the lesson, since we don’t have time for me to write in their notebooks all the verbal details I share.

    Not that they ever read their notebooks, anyway, ha! Which brings me to the first anecdote:

    A piano teaching colleague of mine said she wanted to see how many of her students read their assignment notebooks. So she’d periodically write something in the notebook like, “If you read this, ask for your free steak dinner at your next lesson.” 🙂

    Not a one ever said a word. 😀 Haha.

    Second anecdote, brought to you courtesy of an extremely busy elementary piano student I taught decades ago: S came to one of her lessons in the first year of her piano studies, and played very confidently and way wrong! I wondered what had happened.

    Her lessons were on Mondays, and that particular week she had had no time to practice until Sunday. So she sat down and played for 3 1/2 hours (30 minutes a day X 7 days) the day before her lesson. She couldn’t remember what we had talked about, so got in huge amounts of mistake reinforcement. :-:

    I gently encouraged her that if she had a really busy week again and couldn’t find time to practice until the weekend, that it would be best to just wait for her lesson on Monday to play it for the first time. 🙂

    Sweet girl with good intentions that went humorously awry. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Linda, you didn’t ask this, but if your granddaughter is enjoying the lessons, that’s a good thing. Yours truly once upon a time did not enjoy practicing. The piano was at my grandparents’ house next door, in the basement, and Grandma thought I should be practicing a certain length of time. So she’d set a manual timer in a rack affixed to the stairway wall so that I’d hear it ding when time was up.

    However, I took advantage of my grandmother’s being upstairs and her not hearing very well, and would sometimes sneak up the steps and reset the timer so I wouldn’t have to practice as long. 🙂

    Maybe your granddaughter will be a piano teacher someday and be wise to some of the tricks students play to avoid practice regiments!

    Liked by 3 people

  13. The most-read blog post on my website is called Practice Six, Rest One: [subtitle I’m not quite recalling off-hand]. No one has commented on the post in the years it’s been up, but I find it interesting that it’s read more than the other 2 dozen or so posts I wrote.

    Lots of Asian readers especially seem to find it.


  14. On more, then I need to get ready for teaching:

    One of my 4-year-olds is so into music. This week he has camp, and today was to be his piano lesson. However, I rescheduled it to Monday of this week instead, when he was in town.

    Today he’s on a field trip to a park/playground and a bake shop in my hometown, actually. But when his mom told him that that trip would happen on piano lesson day, he told her, “There’s no way I’m missing piano.”

    Awww! Piano lessons top playgrounds and cookies and doughnuts. 🙂

    I was glad to reschedule so he could enjoy the trip and the piano lesson this week. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

  15. Thank you all for the advice. We agreed to pay for the lessons this year. We rarely (very rarely) heard her practice and we live with them so would hear. Her parents reported that she complained when reminded. I could be wrong (thanks for the insight, Michelle) but I feel that 1) she likes the “status” of it and 2) she likes getting out of class once a week for her in-school lesson. Mom and Dad have no motivation to encourage practice.
    So, my idea was to agree on a practice schedule and have her parents pay each month after which we would reimburse them if she met the schedule. That would encourage her parents to encourage her to practice.
    Above advice is food for thought.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Morning all. I slept in today, so nice. I did work at school yesterday and found more things to download onto a flash drive and to delete afterwards. The room is almost ready for the painters.
    Had dinner with friends last night and they also invited my Russian student and his parents. My friend is an expert at asking questions and I learned so much. And to hear the stories!!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. The grandmother of two of my students pays for the boys’ lessons. She lives out of state, but hears them play when they FaceTime, and I email her monthly progress reports. She writes, “As long as they are showing sincere interest in their lessons, practicing and being prepared for their piano lessons, I will pay for them.”

    They moved to this area about 1.5 years ago, and the boys are going strong. Parental and grand-parental (is that a word?) support and encouragement, along with the occasional admonishment as needed, are thoughtful and beneficial gifts.

    By the way, their grandmother’s name is Linda, also, Linda. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  18. Just found a water leak outside. I had been hearing some dripping and finally checked. It is much more than a drip now, but looks like an easy fix. So glad that I checked, that is a lot of water. I already called our maintenance department. Hoping they can fix it today.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. My friend is on Nextdoor and heard about this new scam that people are falling for. Somehow phones are hacked for voice mail to pick up the voices of family members. Then the voice is used to say someone is in trouble and needs money wired. Of course I have not fact checked this so it may not be true. But in case it is, I wanted to let people be aware.


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