As I have written before I took up playing the flute again as an adult. I merrily made my way through grade four and five and then came to a stop. My teacher does the ABRSM music grades and to do grade six I had to do music theory.

This was so hard. I don’t think I have ever struggled so much with anything in my life. I just didn’t get it. My poor teacher tried so many different ways, but essentially I resented doing it. I always work hard at studying: put in the time, draw diagrams, charts and putting them up around me etc. When I was doing my teacher training Bloom’s taxonomy and various other diagrams were drawn up in a large scale and posted around me. I adore studying and would quite happily be permanently working towards another Masters!

I applied the same principles here, I put up diagrams and the different types of clefs, large pictures of the circle of fifths and more. But it just wasn’t going in. I have never had to work at something that I fundamentally just don’t understand, it sounds arrogant but I generally understand something quickly and then I just need to apply the time to study it in depth. It’s one of the things which helps me with my client work of consultancy, research and writing.

This was different and I really did not like it at all.

It would have been so easy to have given up and I was sorely tempted to do so, I have so much else to do. Gavin, my wonderful husband, kept encouraging me telling me that this was worth doing, my teacher was oh so patient with my temper tantrums and swearing at my theory books and my band mates kept giving me confidence boosts during rehearsals and on Facebook.

In about October something finally clicked and it all started to fall into place. The theory suddenly started to help the practical side of things and I began to understand the different aspects of theory. I did my exam in November and passed. I detest all forms of exams, get extremely stressed and spend the whole thing in state of high levels of anxiety, which always means I just scrape a pass in exams!

Now I am working towards my grade six and playing my flute continues to give me great pleasure and enjoyment. The fact that it requires dedication and practice seems to make it seem even more worthwhile to me, it isn’t something which comes easily to me. I put the time in practically everyday and it is paying off.

Do you do something which challenges you and requires dedication?

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