I started my intensive English language course this week. It’s so intensive, they told me, that I’ll want to spend every waking moment spending time on it–in fact, it’s comparable to doing school and having a full-time job.
Of course, being anti-studying, I decided that I could very well take this class (which is from 9:00 to 5:00 every day, with a 30-45 minute commute each way) AND teach my music lessons afterwards. So far, it’s working. But I’ve only had to teach one 20 minute English lesson and plan a 40 minute one to teach tomorrow (and one on Monday, then Wednesday. . . you get the picture), and most of that I did in the car. Easy peasy, right?
Joking aside, it’s been a good class so far. I’m learning a lot about teaching English to foreign students–everything from lesson plans to giving instructions to grammar and phonology (betcha don’t know what THAT one is!).They weren’t kidding when they said it was intensive, either! Most days I come home and am ready to zone out immediately, not crawl into the car and be off for more hours of personal interaction.
But now that I’m back “in school,” I’m craving the old feeling of practicing for hours on end each day. This place doesn’t have a practice room, or I would seriously consider bringing my violin on the metro and practicing during the lunch hour. There’s just something about turning away from all academic pursuits–writing essays, reading textbooks (another of those things I’ve sworn never to do!), taking notes–and filling your brain with musical details of chord changes, bowings, and intonation. It’s refreshing, even more so than spending time reading a gripping novel. Because at the end, you actually have something to show for your time. You’ve begun, and conquered (or at least advanced toward!) something of value, a timeless art.
And somehow, all that practicing never hurt my grades one bit. I never once had to pull an all-nighter. I never even turned in an assignment late. But when I was fed up with mundane class work, I could change my pace. I could take my violin, shut the door on my practice room, and play until the world seemed right again and I had again discovered beauty.
I hope I’ll be able to play again soon, other than in my lessons each night. But for now, I’m thankful that I had that opportunity to play and learn and become an artist. Because in the end, artistry–in all avenues of life (English lessons included!)–is what will matter.